Cheese maker Nick Haddow of Bruny Island Cheese Co. always thought there was a need for “a really great cheese festival in Australia” that focuses solely on domestic product.
He’s teamed up with Bottle Shop Concepts (the guys behind Pinotpalooza) to put on Mould, a cheese festival that celebrates and showcases the cream of Australia’s cheese crop, with more than 80 varieties to sample and purchase from 20 local producers.
“The default position is that European or overseas cheeses are better,” says Haddow. “And that’s not true. I think the industry is at a point where we can definitely stand up and celebrate how good what we’re doing in Australia is.”
A ticket gets you access to the daylong event at the Meat Market in September, where cheese producers such as Shaw River Buffalo, Holy Goat and Milawa will make themselves available for a chat and, of course, “give you a taste of everything that they make”, says Haddow.
There’ll also be grilled-cheese sandwiches and flaming Reubens from Maker & Monger as well as molten raclette from Harper & Blohm. Haddow has also hinted at potential cheese-flavoured ice-creams and gelatos.
Bottle Shop Concepts is also keeping things domestic on the drinks front. There will be loads of local beers and ciders, including Haddow’s Tasmanian Bruny Island Beer Co, and local wines from Patrick Sullivan and Pennyweight. You’ll also find sheep’s whey vodka from Grandvewe and whisky from Melbourne-based distillery Starward.
The day culminates with a take-home platter; each cheesemaker will display their two best varieties – “the cheese they’re most proud of” – from which you can pick three.
Basically, “it’s an awesome room full of fantastic cheese”, says Haddow. “Just let yourself go.”
Mould: A Cheese Festival runs from 11am to 5pm on Saturday September 2 at Meat Market, 5 Blackwood Street, Melbourne. Tickets are $40 to $45.