By MICHELLE SLATER.
A FISH Creek cheese producer had added yet another accolade to the already bursting trophy cabinet, after its locally produced blue cleaned up at the 2022 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show.
Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese took out the Champion Cheese of Show for its Oak Blue variety at the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales event held in Sydney last month.
The south Gippy Oak Blue already has a swag of national and international awards, including winning a Bronze medal in the Aussie class at the 2019 World Cheese Awards in England.
Cheesemaker Barry Charlton said the Sydney Royal award helped to lift the profile of the local dairy processor, which employs 11 staff since it began in 2007.
“If you are continually winning these awards, it also lifts the staff morale as they show so much pride in what they do,” Mr Charlton said.
“The expertise comes out in all the employees with their attention to detail and loving what they do, it plays a huge role in our company.”.
Mr Charlton formed the small factory with his partner Cheryl after working at Jindi Cheese for 17 years and started developing his own range.
He said the Oak Blue was one of the first cheeses he began working on along the lines of a stilton and a gorgonzola.
“I’d describe it as a creamier and softer blue veined cheese with a full flavour and full maturity. I call it a stilton style, a lot of European people like it,” Mr Charlton said.
“I couldn’t make white mould cheeses like camembert or brie as we couldn’t compete with the big boys.
“I went ahead to see what I could develop as I had experience working with different cultures. All my own cheeses are my own recipes.”.
Mr Charlton attributes some of his success to the locally-sourced milk from Fish Creek producers Gillian and Graeme Nicoll.
He had also been sourcing buffalo milk from Giffard West producer Bryan Jans to make his multi-award winning Riverine Blue.
“It makes a huge difference, I can monitor what the cows are fed and I can get the milk tested,” Mr Charlton said.
“These are hand-picked farms and so I know what’s going into the milk, it makes my job easier.”