Bone white, with a layer of black ash, Gruff Junction’s Darfield is perfect for languid summer days when I hanker for young, light cheeses. Paired with a Sauvignon Blanc I want something to serve in the lead up to a barbeque, rather than at the end of a feast. This is when goat’s cheeses come into their own. And Gruff Junction make some of the best I’ve tasted.
Their Darfield is a sexy cheese for summer. The pyramid square of bloomy rind opens up to reveal a dramatic seismic line. Named after the town at the epicentre of the September 2010 earthquake, it is sun-bleach white with a chalky centre under a soft rind. Velvety smooth it has a lovely lemony zing which depending on age, can lead to a peppery piquancy and an umami, marmite finish.
A great counter point was Whitestone’s Dansey’s Pass.
Dansey’s Pass is a semi-hard cheese with a fresh, sweet nuttiness. It has a rustic natural rind surrounding a springy cente, smattered with small holes. White mushoom, truffle and sweet buttery all tripped off our tongues as we sipped and tasted and basked in summery warmth.
Gruff junction is based at Greenpark Farm half an hour from Christchurch where Ev Moorhead supplies the milk of his 250 goats to his daughter Anna who makes the cheeses. They farm Saanans, a white Swiss Alpine goat.
Greenpark Farm only milk the goats between September and March, and the fresh cheeses, like Darfield are only available for sale during this time, or until they run out.
Check out their list of cheeses.
I love this connection with the farm and the goats and I’ve been pondering the seasonality of cheese. Sometimes its easy to forget that mammals only produce milk after they give birth and they lactate for a finite period. Modern dairying techniques mean that we get milk all year round but in the past milk for cheese making was available seasonally and only aged cheeses were available in winter.
I love this nod to the past, to the traditional, to the artisan. And I must say my cheesey friends, there is nothing like seasonal scarcity to make me feel like a bone fide cheese geek. So hunt around for the seasonal offerings from Gruff Junction. They are superb!
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