Many of our specialty cheeses are created by boutique cheese producers located from Kaitaia to Invercargill. Some are only available from the ‘farm gate’, some online, but increasingly supermarkets are showing keen interest in the more exotic varieties. This year we’re also celebrating our Top NZ Cheese Stores. The winners are spread across the country from Northland to North Otago.
Over the Moon Dairy Company in the South Waikato town of Putararu specialises in traditional and non-traditional cheeses using milk from cows, goats, sheep and buffalo and vegetarian rennet. I’ve marinated their Just Kidding Goat’s Milk cheese for something deliciously different on a cheese board. The company is also one of New Zealand’s top cheese stores.
On Banks Peninsula, Barrys Bay hand-crafted cheeses are consistent medal winners, their aged Maasdam taking numerous awards over the years. Maasdam is a traditional semi-hard Dutch cheese with eyes (or holes) and a creamy, sweet, buttery, nutty taste. Barrys Bay is also rated as one of the country’s 29 top cheese stores.
Check out www.cheeselovers.co.nz.
MARINATED GOATS CHEESE
100g Over the Moon Just Kidding Goat Cheese or similar
3 tablespoons each: extra virgin olive oil, finely chopped parsley
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the cheese in a shallow dish. Score it as for a ham to allow the marinade to permeate the cheese.
Whisk the remaining ingredients together and pour over the cheese. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight. Spoon the marinade over the cheese occasionally.
Drain and place on a serving dish. Serve with crackers or sliced ciabatta. Serves 4-6
WALNUT & CRAISIN BRIE
A great cheese to serve after dinner in place of dessert. I used The Waimata Cheese Company’s Traditional Brie
4 tablespoons each: firmly packed brown sugar, chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons dried cranberries (craisins)
pinch ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brandy
250g round brie
Combine the brown sugar, walnuts, craisins, cinnamon and brandy. Stir well to mix. Stand overnight for the juices to develop.
Place the cheese on a heatproof plate. Bake for 5 minutes at 250°C, or microwave on high for 1 minute, until soft and gooey inside.
Spoon the walnut mixture on top and heat through for a further 2-3 minutes in the oven or 30 seconds in the microwave.
Cut into wedges to serve. Serves 4-6.