Every year wine lovers grab some friends – and a mini bus – and live it up at the Lovedale Long Lunch. But for those in the know, this popular event is just the tip of the iceberg.
It takes at least two months, not two days, to truly immerse yourself in the very best the Hunter Valley has to offer during the Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival in May and June. From incredible gourmet dinners at award-winning restaurants to vineyard tours, wine-making masterclasses, hands-on cooking classes and cosy evenings beside an open fire, the festival has something for everyone.
This week, Food & Wine is talking about a very important component of any festival involving wine. Cheese.
And who better to talk cheese with than Nick Haddow from Bruny Island Cheese Co? Considered one of the best cheese makers in Australia, he will be hosting a range of workshops and events as part of the Cheese Lovers Festival on June 18 and 19 at The Sebel Kirkton Park Hunter Valley.
It is, quite simply, a celebration of cheese in all its shapes, textures and forms.
“When I was a chef in South Australia I was given a bucket of goat’s milk and started having a play with it. I was instantly hooked,” Haddow told Food & Wine.
“Cheese, to me, is a great balance between science, art and heritage.”
Haddow was mentored by two of Australia’s foremost cheese experts, Will Studd and Richard Thomas, before being awarded a Queen’s Trust Grant to work with cheesemakers in Europe, learning traditional cheese-making and maturation techniques.
“We try to make cheeses that reflect where they come from by using local ingredients. Great cheese always shows true regional character and the best cheeses are always made from unpasteurised milk.”
Haddow will be revealing some tricks of the trade at a “Classic Cheese” lunch and dinner alongside winemaker Bruce Tyrrell. For details go online to cheeseloversfestival.com.au.
As for matching cheese with beverages, he had this advice to share: “Basically, you try to contrast the flavours, for example, sweet with salty. Avoid wines that have astringency or tannin and try to think outside of the square and look at beer, cider or whisky as great partners.”
For the program of Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival events, visit winecountry.com.au.