Mum and Dad set up Milawa Cheese Company in 1988, we have been operating on the historic butter factory site in Milawa ever since, and have developed an internationally award winning range of hand-made cow and goat milk cheeses that have become Australian classics. We source our cows milk from a local dairy about 10 minutes away and our goats milk from a family we've worked with for about as long as we've made goats milk cheeses about 1 hour away.
How did you get started in in the industry?
I grew up in the family business, helping mum serve customers in our onsite tastings and sales area, from when I could see over the counter. I went to Uni and studied Classics and Archaeology before heading to London, where I worked with Neals Yard Dairy for 5 years, before coming home to the family business.
Tell us a bit about your cheeses
We make more types than is probably sensible! We make both cow and goat milk cheeses ranging from fresh curd, white mould, washed rinds, blue veins, and hard cheeses. Our first cheeses, Milawa Blue and King River Gold, are still our flagship cheeses and continue to be our best sellers. What makes our cheeses special is subtlety. All of our cheeses have complex and full flavour profiles without being over the top or too rambunctious.
What is your favourite part about being a cheese maker?
I love being able to meet our customers and share our range of cheeses, and watch the joy that great quality food brings to people. I love seeing the 'happy cheese dance' when something is so delicious you have to jig on the spot! One of the great things about making so many types of cheese is that I can easily provide a full cheese plate to someone, and sit back and say we made all of these.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
Being a Jack of all trades and a master of none? Working in a small family business, you have to be able to do just about everything, and sometimes you feel that you aren't quite doing every single one of these things to the level you'd like.
What opportunities do you see for the future of the Australian artisan cheese industry?
Getting more people excited about cheese in general, and Australian cheese in particular. I see a lot of similarities to the craft beer movement, and the opportunities to expand and engage with new audiences. I'd love every restaurant to be as proud to offer local cheeses as they are about the rest of their local produce.
What does being part of ASCA mean to you?
Being able to connect with other cheese makers and to share our experiences, and to further our Australian cheese industry together.