Don’t have a cow

After taste testing their way through almost 1000 products entered in the 2009 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show, the judges presented awards to a mixture of large and small operators from a variety of dairy sectors.

The accolades went to entries covering butter; milk; cheese; ice-cream; gelato; cultured milk products; yoghurt; dips; dairy desserts; sheep, goat and buffalo milk products; and chocolate.

“It’s pleasing to see such a variety of companies successfully strive to produce such high quality products,” said Dairy Produce committee chairman, Gerry Andersen.

“I was especially pleased to announce Holy Goat Cheese as the Champion Cheese of Show for their La Luna Ring.”

For Holy Goat Cheese co-owner, Carla Meurs, the win was a fantastic surprise. “We’re incredibly pleased and it really is just lovely to get that acknowledgement,” said Meurs.

“It’s pretty extraordinary to win that overall category, and it’s clearly a difficult one to judge, with cheeses of all different types – from cheddar to blue; brie to camembert; and of course a goat cheese.

“I’m definitely really pleased that people have considered this cheese to be of a high enough level of quality to be the outright winner. It’s terrific for us actually.”

Meurs sees the win as important for the entire goat cheese industry, promoting the cheese in Australia and heading towards bringing goat cheese manufacturing up to speed with Europe.

“I think, for our industry, it is really significant. For a goat cheese to be chosen as the overall winner, is really great for Australia’s goat industry.

“I think there’s a great interest in goat’s milk cheese, but obviously there’s nothing like the volumes coming out of France, for example.

“We really wanted to introduce people to a much more complex goat cheese than just fresh curd, which is what the market here is generally used to,” she explained.

“In making this style of cheese, we were really trying to take the public somewhere else – to a much more complex and beautiful taste sensation. This cheese expresses a lot of the complexities of goat milk.

“To have this win means getting more attention to cheeses of this type. For people to be exposed to that in Australia, is very good. It’s good for the industry, good for goat cheese, and means that ‘I want some chevre’ no longer has to mean ‘I want some generic, soft goat curd’,” concluded Meurs.

The other show prizes went to Dairy Farmers, who picked up 14 gold medals and 33 silver, helping them secure the Most Successful Dairy Produce Exhibitor, and the Jim Forsyth Perpetual trophy for Champion Milk. Fonterra Australia – Spreyton, took out the Most Successful Butter Exhibitor award; and the Most Successful Cheddar Cheese Exhibitor was won by Bega Cheese Limited, who also collected a total of two gold and 15 silver medals.

Victoria’s Gundowring Fine Foods won Champion Ice Cream and also picked up five gold and six silvers medals. Sublime Gelato, won the Champion Gelato and Bulla Dairy Foods won the Champion Cream or Dairy Dessert, also taking home 28 silver medals.

Australian Cheeseboard Perpetual Trophy winners

  • Holy Goat Cheese — Holy Goat La Luna
  • Small Cow Farm — St. Aminay
  • Warrnambool Cheese & Butter — Vintage Retail Cheddar
  • King Island Dairy — Black Label Loorana Brie
  • King Island Dairy — Roaring Forties Blue
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