Holy Goat! Sustainable Australian Cheese Making

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Holy Goat! Sustainable Australian Cheese Making
I am excited to have guest post today from Lynne Tietzel from Milkwood-Consultants.com . Like the U.S. we are young cheese makers and have come a long way in the past 10 or 15 years. Lynne’s work with artisan Australian cheese producers spans 16 years and includes an award for Vogue Living’s Best Providore, she has been inducted into ‘The Sydney Morning Heralds Food Hall of Fame’ and was recently awarded the Guilde International des Fromagers and La Confrerie de St Ugazon. A prestigious award from this world recognised organisation, aiming to support the cultural and historical significance of quality cheese making.. During these years she has pioneered the education and marketing of Artisan Australian cheeses and their producers . Making what is available for your consumption in restaurants and shops in Australia possible. Have you noticed the sort of cheeses that are now available to us and the improving quality of our Farm house offerings?. Lynne now fronts a business that is still supporting producers and continues her highly regarded Master classes with an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of taste ,texture and terrior of cheeses both Australian and European.
 She has recently visited Holy Goat cheese Artisans, these are her fantastic trip notes and adorable pictures of those little Capricious creatures
But first who or what is Holy Goat and have you seen their cheese?. If you are outside Australia that would be no, as they only produce enough for us…….sorry.
 Holy Goat Organic Artisan Cheese makers make every effort possible to manage their farm sustainably. The goat herd is kept small (even though a larger herd would eleviate demand), so the natural herbs and grasses they feed on free range,  flourish. Cheeses are hand made daily and seasonally contributing to the consistency of the cheese overall . Over to Lynne
Lynne:
The girls
  • Anne Marie Monda and Carla Meurs, searched for this 200 acres for many years, having worked on a number of small and large farms in both Australia and Europe.
  • Their holistic approach to farming, from pasture care, animal health, medicine and husbandry earned them the Royal Agricultural Societies prestigious Presidents Award in 2010
  • All of these disciplines and their commitment to sustainable practices, create new heights in cheese making; with observance to traditional techniques, unique milk quality and intuitive natures, they focus on how to honour terroir.
The Goats
  • Their farm, Sutton Grange is located in Central Victoria on a belt of Granite with undulating hills and boulderous outcrops. The goats graze on native perennial grasses which provide a good foundation for the milk in these beautifully crafted fresh and white mould cheeses.

 

Using the traditional French technique of lactic acid fermentation and intensive care through maturation, they have achieved a small but extraordinary range that is shipped along the East Coast of Australia and has attracted much interest from visiting French Affineurs.

While I love the fresh curd cheeses, it is the exquisitely formed velvety brain like geothricum candidum surface on the La Luna Rings, Barrels and Skyla, that makes these cheeses so special. This is

achieved partly through technique but more as a result of the unique micro-floras present in the make and maturation environs.

In the same family of soft ripened’s, is the elegant Brigid’s Well, a smaller version of the La Luna Ring with a fine ash coating which emerges through the bloom, to reveal shapes like a Celtic Cross.

 The cheese
The rind gives a gentle earthy aroma to the cheese, the interior is white and fine textured with a velvet mouthfeel, clean faint citrusy flavours with a rounding nuttiness lingers on the palate.
I have offered these goat cheeses to many chefs over the years to work their magic and without exception, the challenge is always to quietly enhance them.
Thursday 17th May, Sutton Grange Organic Dairy;

A Goats Day
On approach, the girls are either heads in the trough, making their way up the ramp onto the line, or heads down, calmly surrendering their pendulous udders to the suction cups. A rhythmical tapping resounds, as the milk pumps through the line into the vat.

Carla is massaging their udders, one after the other, feeling for any congestions, monitoring their health and recording any abnormal signs. It’s all just so female and like the quiet purposeful measure of a maternity ward as the job gets done.
 I was thinking of all the common perceptions about goats, their temperaments often associated with ‘capriciousness’ – not these little milkers.

Anne- Marie is herding them elsewhere, a ritual performed twice a day, everyday. I am filled with admiration and fascination for how ‘at one’ these women are with their environment.

We have come to watch, learn and talk about how we can assist them and other cheesemakers in achieving their goals of sustainable profitable business models.
The Australian Specialty Cheesemakers Association is looking to build a stronger services platform for their members and we need to hear what the priorities are.
We are putting together a template questionnaire that we will take to each of the cheesemakers in the coming months.

The Meeting of the Day

Working towards the future….. in the middle Carla and Anne Marie, Holy Goats’ cheesesmakers
But first, lunch.
We’ve bought Alison’s pumpkin and lemongrass soup, terrines from Piper St. Store and plenty of cheese.
The fresh country air and watching the girls at work seems to have increased my hunger, so we all hook into the soup and then we move on to the cheese board.
Rebecca has brought some Pyrenees Ewes milk, Alison, Jura Mountain hard cheeses and my contribution is Kris Lloyd’s Drunken Goat with pressed grape-must on the surface.

While we have all spent many years training our palates to identify flavours, we agree that there is always so much to learn about this wonderful food.
We have our meeting down in the woofers quarters, in a little cottage in the adjoining paddock and come away with a head full of ideas, enthusiasm and the good strong bones
of a working paper.

THE ASCA WORKING PARTY- The girls with the girls behinds

All pictures on the farm taken by Lynne via iphone

You will find Holy Goat cheeses at specialist cheese shops and David Jones food hall , Sydney.

 

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