Cheese products from Tasmania Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Tasmanian Cheese
Tasmania country

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson And Roger McShane
Address: Tasmania
Country: Australia

Cheese has become one of the most important items of produce in Tasmania. Parts of Tasmania are superb dairy country - around Pyengana in the north-east and the rich land around Table Cape, for instance. Small producers as well as large have taken advantage of the favourable environment. Most people in the past have tasted the King Island and Lactos products and these have now been subsumed into the large National Foods monolith along with Mersey Valley Cheddar, but there are many other cheese-makers too. It's one of Tasmania's thriving industries.
Heidi Farm gruyere is still one of Tasmania's best cheeses even though it is also now part of the National Foods empire.
The varieties include Heidi barrel, which is a great eating cheese, and the delicious, pungent, washed-rind Reblochon.
United Milk Tasmania makes a good cheddar and also a picnic round. The latter is not widely available; it is stocked only by select delicatessens. The cheddar is easier to come by.
Elgaar Farm, from near Elizabeth Town, is certified organic-dynamic by the Tasmanian Organic-Dynamic Producers group. They are proving that you don't have to drown your farm in chemicals to get a good return per hectare. If more farmers started adopting the techniques used here, Tasmania would be a better place to live and would be able to market itself as a truly clean, green environment. Look for Elgaar's vintage cheddar and meadow cheese. They are made using non-animal rennet which makes them especially appealing to vegetarians.
Look out too for Westhaven goats' cheeses from the Tamar Valley. They sell a fresh goats' milk cheese, which you can have plain or coated with vine ash, pepperberry or basil and tomato. They also sell cow and goats' milk fetta and natural and flavoured yoghurt.
Pyengana and Ringarooma are thriving dairying areas with a tradition for making great cheddar. Jon Healey, a third-generation cheese-maker, makes Pyengana cloth matured cheddar. You can buy it direct if you are passing through Pyengana (look for the turn-off to the factory, which is on the road to St Columbia Falls) and, at the same time, watch the cheese being made. For milk lovers, treat yourself to a milkshake straight from the farm. They also sell the milk widely in the north east. You can also buy the cheese at the Wursthaus Kitchen in Hobart and other good delicatessens.
Ashgrove, which is on the Bass Highway just north of Elizabeth Town, also encourages visitors who want to watch the cheese-making. Try the Rubicon Red, a strongly flavoured, crumbly cheese that's named after a river in the district.
The Bruny Island Cheese Company is also making its mark with some very good cheeses that are quite different to others produced in the state. We are particularly entranced at the moment with the C2 which is now made from unpasteurised milk! Well done Bruny Island Cheese company!
One of the more welcome recent events has been the appearance of a number of small cheese makers such as Glen Tuarath Dairy in the Derwent Valley producing romano-style cheeses and Mathom Farm which produces some great goat cheeses.
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