One of the many great disappointments of 20/21 has been the loss of incredibly well curated festivals dedicated to gluttony and scoffing. Let's be honest, the likes of #pinotpalooza was an annual outing and all appointments were cancelled for days after, knowing the physical carnage a day of scoffing pinot from across Australia and the globe has on this old body.
Mould Cheese festival was one of the cancellations we most felt. If anyone says they don't like cheese, they just haven't found one that's right for them. In the absence of the festival dedicated to all things fromage, we took it upon ourselves to order a box of loveliness to scoff at while we are locked down and dreaming of the days we could be in the same room as artisans and producers.
Cheese, like pinot noir, can be very divisive. Some love the bigger, bolder flavours, others are after something softer, ore feminine. Whatever your bent, there is a locally produced cheese for you.
We started with the Stone & Crow Amiel, a delicate fresh surfaced ripened as goats cheese. Produced on the outskirts of Melbourne, it has some sweet citrus flavours on first taste, is firm and robust, yet the tang we have come to expect from lesser quality goats cheese is mild at best. Slice this and pop it on a slab of sourdough and wash it down with a non concentrate apple cider or a refreshing ale like Stone and Wood Pacific Ale If you must have it with wine, then have something wildly perfumed like a Fume Blanc.
Next on the board is a Section 28 Fleur de Montagnes, a semi hard cows milk cheese from the Adelaide Hills, coated in woodland herbs and featuring a mild, floral like mould spotted across the surface. With a mildly herbaceous flavour, this is a velvety cheese with a creamy and mellow mouthfeel, this reminds us of provincial southwestern France. It will be delicious as part of a cheese sauce needing punch, or let a sizeable slab melt over a freshly grilled scotch fillet. On its own, match it with an Adelaide Hills Gruner Veltliner.
Finally, the pick of the bunch for us is a Prom Country Cheese sheep's milk Venus blue, made from the milk of their Moyarra ewes. The sheep's milk lends it a more delicate and less confronting flavour. It is delicate and creamy, with a blue green mould evenly spread through, with enough astringency to remind you it's a blue vein cheese,but without being too confronting. They recommend crumbling into a salad with walnuts. I'm adding it to the base of a homemade mayonnaise with a squeeze of lemon and a touch of apple cider vinegar, and pouring that over a raw brussel sprout slaw. To eat it, have a cheeky little pedro ximenez sherry or a glass of sweet late harvest riesling.
However you choose to enjoy the cheeses, make sure you do. Farmers and producers have less options to sell these stunning artisan cheeses, so support them by making your lockdown just a bit more cheesy.
Keep up to date with everything Mould here order the cheeses and see you on the other side when we can all be in the same place together again. Make sure you grab the magazine or drop in on the podcast.