A TASMANIAN company has scooped the pool at Australia’s most prestigious dairy awards after learning the ancient art of making cheese by hand from the last French master craftsman in Roquefort.
Grandvewe Cheeses’ Sapphire Blue Cheese won the top prize, Champion Cheese, at the 2012 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show. It beat about 1000 entries from around the country in 130 classes.
Grandvewe Cheeses director Diane Rae said, “Very simply, our Sapphire Blue Cheese was the highest-scoring and most outstanding cheese of every cheese type and style, including all cow, goat, sheep and buffalo cheeses.
“It is very rare for any boutique producer to win this champion-level award and it is the first time it has been awarded to a sheep-milk cheese. The judging panel included several international judges and one said he had not seen such a high-quality cheese for a long time.”
Ms Rae said she and her daughter had been invited to Roquefort in France to inspect and learn from the cheese-making techniques of one of only seven remaining original producers in the region and the only one hand-making the specialty cheese.
“We worked with Jacques Carles, who was a lovely man and very giving of his time and expertise,” she said. “He’s 75 and he makes cheese with his daughter, as I do. He was taken by the fact we were from Tasmania.”
The Sapphire Blue Cheese is a Roquefort-style blue.