I really cannot imagine my life without cheese. From a well-aged cheddar to an oozing triple creme, I love them all. Even the stinky ones. And especially the ones made with love and care, from paddock to cheese plate. Grandvewe Cheeses is one such producer, taking the time to nurture the animals who produce the milk, and making it a family affair. Locally produced and loved across Australia, their award winning cheeses are utterly delicious and ewenique. Ryan Hartshorn shares all things cheese in this interview.
Can you tell us a bit about Grandvewe Cheeses? Who you are, what makes your products unique etc?
We are Australia’s only organic sheep milk cheesery. We have won the highest awards for any sheep cheesery in Australia. In 2012 our Blue cheese won Champion cheese against 360 cheeses of Australia at the Sydney Royal Show. We were then ranked in the top six fine food producers of Australia.
We have our farm cheesery located 40 minutes south of Hobart in a place called Woodbridge. We are open to the public 7 days a week all year round. At our cheesery you can meet The Girls, as the sheep are fondly known, taste up to 15 different cheeses and enjoy our wines while viewing the whole process of cheese making from paddock to palate. We also have a café to enjoy various seasonal dishes and platters on our deck overlooking the spectacular D’Entrecasteaux Channel with a menu that incorporates our famous cheeses and farm grown smallgoods.
Our products are ewenique because we control the entire process from the grass grown for the sheep to eat, milking, manufacturing, packaging, distributing and selling. Having this total control of the entire process we can ensure quality the best quality of product is achieved consistently. We also try to constantly critique our cheeses as well as experimenting with new ones. This mix keeps our range interesting and always changing while still maintaining quality.
Cheese making seems like so much fun! What got you interested in making cheese?
We used to live in Brisbane and about 11 years ago our mother, Diane, travelled to Tasmania for a holiday and fell in love with the place. The land value in Tasmania at the time was also very cheap in comparison to Brisbane and mum was ready for a midlife crisis. So she first thought of planting a vineyard and got thinking about what animal could graze between the vines. Ducks were the first thought, then goats; however they were not appropriate as they would destroy the vines. The last thought was sheep with the hope they would be less likely to eat the vines. Then she had the hard task of convincing her children to move from their city lives in Brisbane to a quiet country town in Tasmania. With a lot of promises and persuasion, my sister Nicole and I made the move.
Mum had always enjoyed making cheese in her kitchen before the move to Tasmania, so this was a small passion of hers, though she had no professional cheese making skills. She then embarked on a cheese making journey around the world and learnt from more than 17 different cheese makers throughout Europe, Jordan, America and Canada. This experience further increased her interest in cheese making.
Why sheep’s milk cheese?
Sheep milk cheese is the highest quality milk and is the healthiest of all milks. This is a scientific fact that sheep milk has the highest milk solids so it makes a very creamy product. The flavour of the milk is also very sweet so this helps our products appeal to most palates. The health benefits include low allergens, meaning 98% of people with cow milk allergies will not react to sheep milk. The milk contains monounsaturated fats, reduces cholesterol and has triple the calcium of cows milk. All these qualities and health benefits made it the obvious milk choice for us.
Grandvewe has lots of delicious cheeses and specialty items. What are some of your most popular ones? Which is your favourite?
My favourite is the cheese I have eaten the least of at the time. Normally it’s the cheese we have not had for a while, however I always enjoy our popular White Pearl and Sapphire Blue. I like the White Pearl because it is so versatile – a great cheese to simply dip bread into on a platter or spread on bread with some smoke salmon on top. If you want it in a meal then just mix it through a good fresh pasta.
Some really great Australian restaurants are using your cheese. What is a popular way to serve your cheese?
Some of Australia’s top chefs, such as Peter Gilmore of Quay Restaurant, are using our milk to make their own sheep milk gelato on their dessert menu. Others enjoy our Friesland Fresh in dollops through a nice summer salad.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
Thanks to everyone who has supported us! We are a small family business who pride ourselves on making honest good quality cheeses without pretention. If you would like to try some of our cheeses please order from our website and we will express post it to your home anywhere in Australia.
*Originally posted on Neat Eats*