“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





11 September 2011


The Goat Dances In The Vine Ash
16 Cheesey Vintages At Woodside
Red Lover's Favourite Grows Up

Just over sixteen years ago a French lass called Edith taught Kris Lloyd and the Woodside Cheese Wrights how to make a particular cheese from goat’s milk. She showed them her ancient overnight resting time for the curds to set, and how the acids changed as the curd thickened.

“Quite temperamental, she must be handled with care,” Kris says. “Hand bailing and hooping’s the key to her ongoing success. Once the squat rounds of cheese are able to be managed by hand they are set into a special cave for drying. Depending on the time of the year this can be up to 10 days. Once the cheese is quite dry a spattering of Geotrichum and white mould appears a bit like a five o clock shadow only white.

“It is at this point each cheese is very carefully ashed by hand using vine ash. I have always found this interesting taking a pristine white cheese and smothering it with ash. It is in fact the ash that makes Edith unique and the star she is. The ash changes the pH on the surface rind and promotes a savoury flavour to the cheese that is almost blue.”

Only twenty years ago Australian cheese lovers had to go to France to see a decent cheeseboard. I seem to recall that pilgrimage contributing big momentum to our habit of photographing stuff we're about to eat, just to prove it had been there.

Or you'd track down Richard Thomas, who spent years bouncing from one new Victorian cheesery to another. He’d played around with winemaking at Chateau Reynella, but fell in love with Gorgonzola and ran away to Italy. Back in Australia in 1983, he committed something weird at King Island - I've never heard the story in its fullness - then joined a new eastern Victorian firm and invented the great Gippsland Blue.

"In 1983 there were six tons of blue cheese made in Australia, and it was all made by me at Gippsland," he is known to reflect.

There was also a mighty blue wax and cloth-bound cheddar occasionally produced at Farmer’s Union’s South Australian factory at Murray Bridge by a master called Jaensch, but as the economic rationists ate into that old place through takeovers and amalgamations, the thought of ageing a cheese for a year went right out the window.

So South Australians, envious of the Victorians, were delighted when Kris found Edith. The Woodside Cheese Wrights are now a very regular guest on grateful tables all over Australia, and Kris is launching a special 16th birthday release under the original label, just because.

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