When a French cheesemaker and educator known internationally as ‘The Cheese Whisperer’ moves across the world to Australia to open a cheese school, you sit up and pay attention. When he’s joined by his wife – also an experienced cheesemaker – and they set up shop in Castlemaine to produce French-style cheeses that reflect the terroir of Australia, you book the next flight to Victoria.
At least that’s what our GM Sally Gosper did when she heard that Ivan and Julie Larcher had launched their Australian artisan cheese brand, Long Paddock Cheese. “I was beyond excited to have two globally recognised French cheesemakers making Australia their new home, and couldn’t wait to see what they had produced,” said Sally.
The duo has partnered with former lawyer Alison Lansley, and Ann-Marie Monda and Carla Meurs of Holy Goat Cheese and together the self-confessed “cheese tragics” are working to help Australia’s artisan cheese and industry flourish. Starting with teaching Aussie cheesemakers traditional French techniques at their ‘University for Cheese’, the world’s first privately funded cheese school, located at their cheesemaking facility in the food precinct at Castlemaine’s The Mill.
And if their own cheese is anything to go by, cheesemakers will soon be vying to learn the Larcher’s tricks of the trade. Currently producing six equally unique and outstanding cheeses made from organic cow’s milk, it’s their Driftwood cheese that has fromage aficionados really excited (and jumping on planes). “[Driftwood] really is the perfect combination of cheesemaking expertise, an academic approach to branding and a respect for terroir,” says Sally.
Its makers describe Driftwood as "a soft gooey cheese with a delicious-but-subtle woodsy flavour imparted by the spruce bark belt, becoming more pungent as it ripens. In France, it would be called Vacherin, a cheese made in the Alps with winter milk and often eaten hot with bread after a brief oven-bake." It's also excellent when dressed with garlic and fresh herbs before baking, and utterly spectacular with a smattering of shaved truffles post-bake. But if you like to keep things simple, the good news is that it's also equally delicious enjoyed at room temperature.
Two Providores is currently stocking Driftwood as well as a variety of other Long Paddock Cheese in retail and food service sizing. Chat to your Key Account Manager for samples or to place an order, or call our Customer Service Team on (02) 9565 2255 for more info.
Photo credit: Jimmy Wong