I’m informed that winter is over, although in the Adelaide Hills it seems just a little reluctant to release us from it’s grip. However, the trees are bursting their buds, the remaining hens have begun to lay again, weeds are attempting to take over the garden and the grass in the back yard is knee high so I’m quite optimistic that the milder weather will be here before I know it. The sunshine and longer days gladden my heart, not having washing draped around the house gladdens my heart, and weekends full of good excuses to celebrate South Australian food and wine suffuse me with happiness, goodwill and a slightly more benevolent attitude towards my houseful of indolent, lippy offspring. Spring and the warmer weather herald lots of excuses to indulge in the latter with one of my (many) favourites being CheeseFest, celebrated this year on October 15-16 at Adelaide’s Rymill Park.
The brainchild of Kris Lloyd the Woodside Cheesewright, in six short years CheeseFest has become the biggest cheese festival in Australia and attracts cheese lovers from across the country. The festival this year offers cheese making demonstrations, cheese master classes, cooking with cheese, musical entertainment, celebrity chefs, food stalls from some of Adelaides most respected restaurants and food producers, wine stalls from premium South Australian wineries, brewers and cider makers and, most importantly, cheese from our remarkable South Australian cheese makers.
If you are looking for a reason to justify an afternoon of sun, wine and food, then I hope I’m about to give you one here. In South Australia, we are blessed with some extraordinary cheese making talent. We punch well above our weight in passionate, skilled artisans who love nothing more than making the very best of our premium produce with all it’s seasonal vagaries. These talented cheesemakers are champing at the bit to introduce you to their world and to help you to learn to appreciate the different qualities that can be coaxed, with plenty of skill and a lot of zeal, from the various local fresh milks available to them. This is your opportunity to move slightly out of your comfort zone and perhaps try something new that you wouldn’t ordinarily buy and also to familiarise yourself with the variety of both local cheese and local producers that we have in our own back yard. You will be able to take the opportunity, in some cases, to talk to the people who have made the cheese, find out about the seasonal differences in milk and how that affects the flavour of the end product and to explore the different cheese types.
There is a distinct variety in the range of local cheese producers who will be taking part and they offer a diversity of cheese styles to select from. There will also be a few interstate producers taking part so we will be able to measure up the competition, but check out the list of South Australian producers who will be participating to whet your appetite –
The very passionate and inspired Kris Lloyd has said to me that the thing she loves best about cheesemaking is the fact that she can take a fresh, natural, but quite simple product like milk and turn it into something tasty and special. CheeseFest is your chance to find out just how tasty and special she and our other South Australian cheese producers really can make it, so come along and help celebrate our local artisans and our own cheese industry.