As a child, Olivia Sutton spent school holidays running free on her family’s farm on King Island, Tasmania. Home to King Island Dairy, one of Australia’s best-known cheese producers, Sutton says she was known to return to boarding school each term with a three-kilogram wheel of brie in her luggage.
That adolescent fondness for cheese has developed into a full-blown business. Sutton is now the proprietor of Harper & Blohm, a specialty cheese store in Brunswick that stocks some of the world’s finest farmhouse and artisan cheeses.
On a recent trip to the island over Christmas, Sutton tried King Island Dairy’s Roaring Forties blue, a grand a champion at the recent Australian Grand Dairy Awards. “I was totally blown away by it,” she says. “It’s one of the benchmark Australian blue cheeses.” The milk used to make it comes from just nine dairies on the island, “a very small area,” says Sutton. “That’s quite a special drawcard to have.”
Roaring Forties is also waxed, which creates a unique flavour profile. “It starts a fermentation within the cheese that gives it a really sweet flavour and makes it really high in moisture,” says Sutton. “It’s one of the reasons we chose to put it in a toasted sandwich.”
Sutton and the Harper & Blohm team have devised a cheese toastie that pairs the blue with fig, walnut and rocket. Sutton says it was inspired by the cheese as well as her shop’s surrounding streets.
“The sweetness of the cheese really complements the sweetness of the figs,” she says. “We’re in Brunswick, and there are fig trees in the streets everywhere.”
Here’s how to make Sutton’s special toastie at home.
Harper & Blohm’s Roaring Forties Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Makes 1 serve
2 slices sourdough bread
90g King Island Dairy Roaring Forties blue cheese
10g walnuts, roughly chopped
½ fig, sliced
Butter to spread on bread
Sea salt flakes to finish
Grate cheese. For a milder flavour, mix in a little grated cheddar or Gruyere (adjusting amount of cheese).
Spread bread lightly with softened butter. Arrange walnuts on un-buttered side of the bread and pile cheese on top. Arrange the fig and rocket on top of cheese.
Place second slice of bread on top, butter side up. Press down lightly and transfer to a pre-warmed sandwich press.
Cook for approximately four minutes, turning over halfway.
Once cooked, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and cut in half to serve.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Dairy Australia. See the full list of 2019 Australian Grand Dairy Awards winners here.