Life’s getting better in Wellington, partly because of the cheese mongers who are popping up across town. Last weekend I met Sally from Evansdale cheese. She’s one of the growing band of cheese lovers bringing small-scale, artisan and imported cheeses to the Capital. Alongside our emerging market culture, there’s been a real increase in the range and quality we cheese folks can find.
You’ll find Sally every second Saturday at Thorndon’s Hill St Market with her Otago-made Evansdale cheeses. This is an intimate little market where there’s time to stop and talk to the stall holders and even better, time to taste.
Sally’s generous with her tastes, and over slivers of Farmhouse Brie and chunks of Sage Derby, she told me how she got involved. Evansale is made by the Dennison family just out of Waikouaiti, near to the turn off to Karitane. Her father was a neighbour at a previous location and Sally became their Wellington Agent. I was surprised to find out that in the 70’s, they set up the first small cheese factory in New Zealand, pooling left over milk with local farmers and making cheeses – the vanguard of the Kiwi artisan cheese movement!
Evansdale makes pasteurised cows cheeses, distinctive because of their unique shape and wax wrappings. I love how their Brie has taken on a Kiwi stoutness, reminding me of of my great grandmother from Gore!
Mt Cargill is accessible, rich and creamy with a lemony tang. But there’s something else there, some flavours that surprised and challenged me to describe. There’s a hint of chilli to start, nothing too hot just a moment of heat on the tip of the tongue tingling awake the senses. Tantalised by the heat at the start, the Talbot mellows across your palette developing green capsicum flavours and finishing with a slight basily pepper.
It was moreish and interesting and tempted us back, asking us to uncover and put into words its complex flavour profile. Rog and I nibbled our way through a large chunk! We figured out why we liked it so much, it was like a southern man – with a quiet strength, easy on the eye, comfortable in any company and with an interesting but not pushy spiciness.
So thank you Sally, you have brought me back to trying Kiwi cheese, I have been so distracted by their flouncy French cousins!
And you dear cheesy reader, where do you seek out your cheesy delights? I’m always on the look out for new places to try, both in Wellington and elsewhere.