Boatshed Cheese And Yarra Valley Dairy

My close friend, David, flew over from Adelaide to spend a few days in Melbourne, as he does every month. This month we decided to visit Fairfield Farmer's Market, as well as road trip it to Yarra Valley Dairy up north in Yering. It turned out to be a great day. The sun was shining, the rolling fields of green were relaxing as we cruised the back roads, and our esky was slowly being filled up with artisan cheese, beer and cider. The next day, we took advantage of the sunshine, packed the esky for a picnic and took a drive to the nearest botanic gardens ("botanic garden", my arse). We dined on the cheeses we bought the previous day, with a freshly baked baguette, some Lesley Black's Country Relish, Tasmanian Bush Dust, and some crackers.

BoatShed had a stall at the market, and according to my research, they were entirely vegetarian, and some of their cheeses won awards in previous years. I sampled everything, and had much trouble choosing which to take home. David, Sean, Naomi and I were tossing up between Compass Gold, Horizon, Blue Moon, Beach Box Brie, and more. Eventually we settled on Sun Smoked, and Tomme Buoy. I love that the names for the cheese are all nautical themed, and it just makes me love the company even more. Both cheeses were $15.00 each (I know, pricey, but delicious!)

 Boatshed's 'Sun Smoke': A young cheddar that is lightly smoked and then coated in smoked paprika. The paprika gives it a colourful exterior and accentuates the smokiness. It is a semi-hard cheese that melts in your mouth, and is smooth and rich in flavour and texture. It has a slightly tangy aftertaste, and there's a balanced yet subtle combination of sweet, salty and sour. My partner has likened this cheese to 'Cheese and Bacon Cheetos', saying that they're almost identical in flavour. This would work wonderfully with some tomato chutney, or mustard even, on crackers. I think even maple syrup would taste lovely paired with this cheese.

Boatshed's Tomme Buoy: It has a natural rind, and has never been washed with any form of alcohol/liquid. This cheese is quite delicate in flavour, with a rather nutty rind. There is some sweet creaminess, despite the density of the flesh, which I find makes this cheese rather dreamy. If left to mature for a few more months before being consumed, the cheese will become harder, and the flavours more pronounced, resembling manchego in texture and flavour. When I sampled the cheese at the market, it had been rather mature which caught my attention. Great with quince paste.

After the market, we headed for Yarra Valley Dairy, which took about 50 minutes to get to from Fairfield. When we got there we found a lot of people there, which obviously meant that the company was hugely popular with both the locals and the tourists. It's a rather lovely farm, all lush grass and rustic farmhouse accents. You walk inside and the walls are lined with corrugated tin and logs. Step through the glass doorway and you're surrounded by shelves full of farmhouse decor, relishes, chutneys and jams, bottles of wine and ciders, biscuits, crackers and bread, and numerous other things that I've lost track of. 

All of the cheese are displayed in the middle of the room, a cafe setting located behind the display fridges and registers. On the left side of the display fridges, you'll find all of their cheeses, and a waiter serving samples of six cheeses over the counter. On the other side you find prepared cheese platters, a selection of cheeses by other companies, such as Pyengana, along with pates, pies, and pastries.

All but three of YVD cheese are vegetarian, and the ones containing animal rennet were Le Jack, Yering and Bull's Eye, so avoid those with every ounce of willpower you possess. It was a great shame to learn that the Le Jack wasn't suitable for vegetarians, because it looked absolutely delicious sitting innocently on the chopping board. It was so creamy it literally melted as soon as the waiter cut into the rind. I could only drool as I stared forlornly through the window.

After much deliberation, we picked out House Cow and Black Savourine. The House Cow is $9, whilst the Savourine was $15. So much yum! 

Yarra Valley Dairy's Black Savourine: This isn't very popular with David and Sean, as it has a subtle blue cheese flavour, and they tend to avoid blues. I rather liked it, and I can only imagine it being wonderful paired with some quince paste. What's lovely about this cheese is that it has different textures, the inner flesh being crumbly and tangy like a fresh goats curd, and then there's the creamier layer of flesh right under the rind, giving it that blue cheese flavour due to the maturing process. I would love to try this after a few more months of maturation - I can only imagine that it would be beautiful. Oh, this cheese is probably my favourite, being suitable for many types of accompaniments, including but not limited to; pear/apple slices, pistachios, crisp cider, quince paste, figs, and drizzled with some olive oil.

Yarra Valley Dairy's House Cow: This one was a favourite among the group, with me in the minority. It is extremely spreadable, having the consistency of ricotta cheese, and goes wonderfully on slices of fresh bread. It is garlicky and herby, reminiscent of tzatziki. It's easy to see why this would be a favourite among the group, being light and fluffy, flavourful yet toned down. It reminds me of spring; bright, tangy, earthy and sweet. I think it would pair nicely with sliced bread, a drizzle of olive oil and some olives for a refreshing springtime meal.


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