Masks are off just in time for NZ Cheese Month this October – which means Kiwis will be able to enjoy cheese tastings again as they shop.
An annual event on the country’s food calendar, NZ Cheese Month is an initiative of the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association, focusing attention on the flavour and importance of our local cheese industry.
This year – the first NZ Cheese Month in two years without Covid restrictions – will see cheesemakers hosting tastings across the country, sharing their wares and explaining the cheesemaking process with cheese lovers across the nation. From farmers’ markets to supermarkets and speciality food outlets cheesemakers will be popping up in stores throughout the month, meeting customers and sharing the love of New Zealand cheese.
A specialist New Zealand Cheese Guide has also been released to coincide with NZ Cheese Month.
It’s packed with suggestions for how to serve and store cheese, profiles on top 2022 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards trophy winners as well as a guide to the Top NZ Cheese Stores – so people know where to pick up locally produced cheese. NZ Cheese Guides are available at specialist cheese stores, New World North Island supermarkets, cheese factory stores and farmers’ markets.
Additionally, through www.cheeseloversnz.co.nz a year’s worth of New Zealand cheese will be given away. One lucky Kiwi cheese lover who votes in the Rutherford & Meyer Favourite NZ Cheese Company 2022 will win a curated box of NZ specialty cheese every month for a year. At the end of NZ Cheese Month, the cheesemaker with the most votes will be crowned ‘Rutherford & Meyer Favourite NZ Cheese Company’.
NZ Cheese has been a favourite for many over the past couple of tumultuous years and with that in mind some cheese loving Kiwis share their thoughts on NZ Cheese:
Kathy Paterson, food writer and cookbook author said; “New Zealand cheese is a good fit with my ‘buy local lifestyle’ and my firm focus on supporting this country’s cheese producers. Locally sourced milk provides complexity, unparalleled flavour and texture in seasonal offerings from our devoted cheesemaking enthusiasts. New Zealand cheesemakers obsessive attention to quality is exciting and rewarded with depth of flavour.”
James Thomas, founder and owner of specialist cheese wholesaler New Zealand Cheese said “Buying New Zealand Cheese supports the production of high quality, sustainable milk. Milk’s the main ingredient in cheese and how animals are farmed has a huge impact on its quality. The finest cheeses are only made with the best, fresh milk. Cheesemakers showcase this milk in every single one of the cheeses they produce with it.”
Cathy Lang, Master Cheesemaker for Fonterra Brands and MilkTestNZ Champion Cheesemaker 2022 said; “Every New Zealand cheese reflects its seasonality its milk and the soil, pasture, and climate of where it comes from. We have a diverse range of cheesemakers across our two islands who are extremely innovative, creating their own unique styles of cheese. When travelling around New Zealand I like to seek out local cheese to challenge my tastebuds, this way I learn about what’s new and recommend these to my family and friends. We all get into the habit of buying the same cheese, but you’ll be reward if you push the boat out and try a new Zealand Cheese!”
Jason Tarrant, NZ Champions of Cheese Master Judge said, “When you buy New Zealand cheese, you’re supporting our local economy. In return you’ll receive a delicious product made with 100 percent fresh New Zealand milk. You can be confident our New Zealand cheese is of world-class quality, while remaining true to our climate giving it a unique flavour.”
NZSCA Chair, Catherine McNamara says cheesemakers are encouraging Kiwis to try a new cheese this year. “We all end up with two or three ‘go to’ products that we know and love. However, for NZ Cheese Month this October we’re encouraging cheese lovers to branch out and try a new NZ cheese.”
“Our industry is constantly evolving and there are so many new locally made cheeses available, by challenging yourself to try something new there’s a chance you’ll find a new favourite NZ cheese.”
Catherine says as well as enjoyment, it makes economic sense for Kiwis to buy New Zealand Cheese. “Buying locally made cheese keeps jobs and money in our country. It’s also supporting our regions as many of the cheesemakers and the farms that support them are in rural areas. Buying New Zealand cheese reduces food miles!”
SEARCHING FOR NZ’S FAVOURITE CHEESE COMPANY
Cheese lovers are encouraged to visit www.cheeseloversnz.co.nz vote for their favourite NZ Cheese Company. The NZ Cheese Company with the most votes at the end of NZ Cheese Month will be named Rutherford & Meyer Favourite NZ Cheese Company and one lucky voter will win a box of cheese every month for a year!
FIND NZ CHEESE ON THE CHEESELOVERS NZ WEBSITE
Wherever cheese lovers live or holiday in New Zealand check the directory of New Zealand cheesemakers, top NZ cheese stores and farmers’ markets on the website www.cheeseloversnz.co.nz
NZ CHEESE ONLINE POP-UP SHOP
Additionally, www.cheeseloversnz.co.nz includes a page with links to special cheese offers from NZSCA cheesemaking members. Meaning
New Zealand’s finest cheese is only a couple of clicks away from delivery to any home in Aotearoa.