Tastes of Tasmania: Dairy

Tasmania is home to around 700 farms producing dairy products that are up there with the best from any corner of the globe. The friendly climate, good soil, fresh air and clean, clear rainwater contribute towards the pastures being rich and vibrant, combine to create an ideal environment for Tasmania s cows and goats able to produce milk of exceptional quality and taste. Add to that the skills of the local cheese and dairy produce makers and you have the perfect recipe for a range of products that are in high demand across the globe.

Being able to sample and purchase this wonderful dairy produce at or within a stone's throw of the farm gate, right after the curding and ripening processes has taken place, is a privilege reserved for the Tasmanian traveller and one which should not be passed up lightly. At numerous cheese factories across the state, free tastings are given, often within view of the very cows that produced the milk from which these goodies were made,grazing contentedly in nearby green pastures, or lining up in a paddock a few metres away, awaiting their turn at the milking machine.

Pyengana Cheese

Up the road from Pyengana's famous The Pub in the Paddock is another Pyengana institution - Pyengana Dairy Company. Its renowned Clothbound Cheddar is produced by John Healey using the original method established by his great grandfather at the turn of the 20th century. With such a long history of production, Pyengana Clothbound Cheddar is one of Australia's oldest specialist cheeses.
Attached to the dairy is the Holy Cow Cafe, a wonderful place to do a little cheese tasting, or to stop and enjoy a light meal as the cows on the other side of the fence jostle for a spot on the laser-guided milking machines.

King Island Dairy

According to local legend, the first European pasture reached King Island in the early 19th century via straw beds washed ashore from a shipwreck. Seeds from the straw quickly germinated in the island's rich soils, setting the scene for one of Australia's most famous dairies. Add 7,500 contented dairy cows who breathe the world's cleanest air and drink the purest rainwater, and you have all the ingredients for the best dairy produce in the country.
Not surprisingly, King Island Dairy is one of Australia's most famous cheese producers, making high quality camembert, brie and blue cheeses, along with traditional cheddars, hard cheeses, yoghurt and thick clotted cream. These multi-award winning cheeses are created from milk produced by the Island's 25 dairy farms.

King Island Scrubbed Brie

The first thing that you will notice, even before opening the box is the definite aroma of mushrooms - a very pleasant aroma. Opening the box, you'll find your golden ingot, and unwrapping it is almost like "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". As you cut through you'll notice is soft texture; taste wise, it's soft and creamy with delicate mushroom tones.
So what exactly is a "scrubbed brie"? It's a cow's milk Brie, made using traditional French techniques that is wrapped Brevi Linens then hand scrubbed to give it those earthy, mushroomy aromas. It has a distinctive saffron skin - it's not as intense as a washed rind cheese and would be a good introduction to this genre of cheese.

Ashgrove Ribicon Red Cheese

A Red Leicester style of cheese traditionally bright orange in colour through the use of a vegetable colouring called annatto. Traditional Red Leicester is matured in a traditional cheese cloth to create a mellow flavour with earthy tones. The bold colouring creates a statement on cheese boards and platters. Rubicon Red is also a good melting cheese and is excellent grated and added to dishes like tacos. Ashgrove Cheese is readily available in most food outlets across Australia, or from the factory on the highway midway between Devonport and Launceston.

Bruny Island Oen Cheese

Bruny Island Cheese Co. is an artisan cheese maker in southern Tasmania, owned and operated by Nick Haddow. Our cheeses are all made and matured using traditional techniques and are some of the finest artisan cheeses made in Australia. Nick and his team are inspired by the artisan cheeses from their travels. Such a cheese is Oen, a washed-rind, cow's milk cheese, washed in Pinot Noir before being wrapped in vine leaves to be carefully matured. When mature, Oen's rind becomes pungent and the texture becomes soft and fudgey.

King Island Dairy Furneaux Double Cream

King Island Dairy Furneaux is a soft centred white mould cheese with the delicate aroma of sweet, jersey milk and fresh hay. It has a well developed white coat that softens and crumples with maturity revealing a lustrous, ultra-smooth pale cream centre reminiscent of softened whipped butter when fully ripe. This cheese has a rich melting quality on the tongue and fresh, concentrated sweet butter flavour. It was named after Captain Tobias Furneaux, who accompanied James Cook on his expeditions around Tasmania.