Farro’s guide to New Zealand cheesemakers
With our fresh pastures and clean air, New Zealand produces some of the most delicious cheeses in the world. At Farro, we’re proud to offer a vast selection of these cheeses, however, we realise sometimes making a selection can be daunting to the untrained eye – to help, we’ve put together our own guide to New Zealand cheesemakers.
The Cheese Barn
For the nature lovers out there – all of the cheeses produced by The Cheese Barn are 100% certified organic and don’t contain any artificial additives, antibiotics, growth hormones or chemical sprays, they’re also unhomogenised, gluten-free, and have no GMO. The milk for their cheeses come from a family farm that has been around since 1972. The cows and bulls are treated as family at the farm, where they’re all assigned not only a number but a name! The Cheese Barn have won a plethora of awards, in 2017 they won a Silver for their Organic Cumin Seed Gouda at the New Zealand Cheese Awards and also a bronze for their Organic Garlic & Chive Gouda.
Barrys Bay Cheese
Having produced their first cheddar in 1895, the team at Barrys Bay Cheese certainly don’t lack in experience. Located in the Banks Peninsula, they have retained a lot of the original methods that were used throughout the early 1900s. This has led them winning an array of awards at the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards, in particular the Champion of Champions award in 2014 for their Aged Gouda – a product we stock across all 6 of our stores.
Traditional Italian cheese making techniques, combined with premium New Zealand dairy product make Massimo’s products a go-to for Italian cheeses. The know-how for these cheeses comes direct from Italy where the owners completed a 3-year apprenticeship in cheesemaking. Our pick is their Mozzarella, a soft and mild cheese which goes perfectly on pizza.
The team at Clevedon Buffalo Co. have taken an alternative approach to the production of their cheese by using Buffalo milk. Produced on the shores of Hauraki Gulf the team and it’s 150 head of buffalo have won multiple gold medals and national cheese awards. Buffalo milk is an ideal alternative to people who’re intolerant to other dairy products, it also has significantly more protein and calcium than cow’s milk. Our pick is their marinated cheese which comes in two different flavours herbs and chilli & lime goes perfectly on crackers or bruschetta.
From humble beginnings in a converted garage in Oamaru; Whitestone Cheese has come a long way since starting in the late 1980s and is now one of New Zealand’s leading artisanal cheese producers. Our pick is the Shenley Station Blue, a Gold Label cheese with mushroom flavour notes and a smooth, sticky texture.
The team at Grinning Gecko are committed to quality, their use of fresh organic milk (pasteurisation begins within one hour of the cow being milked) and gentle method of pasteurisation results in a quality cheese. They’re dedicated to having minimal environmental impact and also use non-animal rennet so all their cheeses are vegetarian-friendly.
Inspired by his Cypriot mother, Michael Matsis decided to research the art of cheese making and in 2000 started up Zany Zeus with his sister Meropi.
Initially the focus of the business was on their traditional Cypriot halloumi cheese which was relatively unknown at the time in New Zealand. Since then the company has seen significant growth and awards and now produces not only cheese but organic milk, cream and cultured products such as mascarpone, sour cream, crème fraiche, cream cheese and yoghurt.
The Drunken Nanny
The Drunken Nanny cheeses are goats cheese produced by a small family farm 16km south of Martinborough. The team at drunken Nanny have won a number of awards at the NZ Champions of Cheese and what was once 25 milking does has now increased to 175 for the 2017/18 season. Much like wine, the cheeses from the Drunken Nanny are subject to seasonal variations due to the different plants and herbs the goats graze on throughout the year – while the team aims for consistency, they think that the seasonal variations are all part of the joy of their products.