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Australian specialist cheesemakers - breaking through the myths and barriers. A personal viewpoint

Authors: David Brown

Abstract:

The definition of specialist cheese is imprecise, but for the purposes of this paper I will apply the interpretation favoured by the Australian Specialist Cheesemakers' Association (ASCA), which uses the type of cheesemaking process rather than the finished product or cheese style as the determining factor (ASCA 2007). Specialist cheese is generally handmade by artisan cheesemakers, and although they may use a scientific approach, the methods are similar to those used by artisans the world over. For example, the greatest volume by type of cheese manufactured in Australia is cheddar (Dairy Australia 2006), and cheese is mostly made in highly mechanised plants by technicians at computer controls. However, cheddar is also made by hand at Maffra, Pyengana, Woodside and Ashgrove, and these handmade cheddars are considered specialist. I will give a little background to the development of the specialist cheesemaking sector, some indications of the achievements made, and point to opportunities and threats faced in the future.

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