Australia

Hard to Brie-sist

Many of my American and British friends believe much of the Australian vernacular is made up. They allege they are just jumbles of ridiculous sounding vowels meant to bamboozle non-Australians, that it’s one big in-joke at the expense of other lesser nationalities.

“That is NOT a real word,” my friend Alicia exclaimed once, upon hearing the place name “Wharoongha”.

Fair suck of the sav indeed.

This post came to be thanks to my friend Brooke who recently hosted a gaggle of women, a lot of wine and a slew of Australian cheese.

Much was discussed over cheese and wine in her “Secret Garden”, including sport, men and bad bad boyfriends. But it was more about the cheese, Australian cheese to be exact.

Australia on a platter

Australia on a platter

While many believe Australia is a barren desert surrounded by shark infested waters. But many parts, especially on the seaboards, are lush dairy country. I am biased but I believe Australia makes some of the best cheeses in the world.

Witness – the King Island Brie.

Brie release me

Brie release me

King Island is one of the islands that make up the state of Tasmania (no map of Tassie jokes please). It is anchored in the middle of the Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania’s North West coast and is home to some of the must luscious produce including a famed dairy. Brie maybe France’s “King of Cheeses”, the King Island is King of Aussie cheeses.

King Island is one of the few areas in Australia and indeed the world, where cows graze all year round. As a result, the cow’s milk is highly desirable for cheese production and consequently, the King Island Dairy is internationally recognized for its award winning, premium produce.

King Island Dairy Cape Wickham Double Brie has a superb rich flavor that continues to develop with age. Cream is added to give it a full creamy mouth feel and it is named after the northern tip of the Island. Nothing is guaranteed to silence a table full of Aussies feeling homesick quicker than a wedge of this.

Just too good

Just too good

Other cheeses on our smorgasbord included an Ashgrove Tasmanian cheddar flavored with bush pepper. A spicy cheese flavoured with Tasmanian Native Pepper creating a distinct character. It’s also apparently an excellent cheese for melting. Pepperberries are more versatile than conventional peppercorn, able to be used in sweet and savoury dishes. The leaves, stems and berries have an aromatic peppery taste producing approximately three times the anti-oxidants of blueberries. Native birds, such as the Black Currawong, eat the berries.

Peppered up

Peppered up

Pepperberry on top left

Pepperberry on top left

We also sampled a Mersey Valley very sharp cheddar, which also hails from the great state of Tasmania. This dairy has been producing its vintage cheddar for more than 30 years.

Sharp edge

Sharp edge

Mersey Valley Classic is a cheese with great character and complexity and extremely sharp. Vintage cheddar is aged up to two years to give it the “sharp” mouth feel.

Going crackers

Going crackers

Also on our platter was a less conventional cheese I procured from Salt Meats Cheese in the wildy trendy suburb of Alexandria in Sydney.

Everyone loves Merlot

Everyone loves Merlot

I discovered this place a while back while visiting home a year or so back and it seems to have taken on a life of its’ own. I mean the joint has a HAM GALLERY!

This cheese, a goat cheese which is basically marinated in merlot. Truly the best of both worlds – wine and cheese in one package. Australians are nothing if not inventive – not just with their interpretation of the English language.

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