A cheese degustation at Colombo Estate in Martinborough was a spectacular finale to NZ cheese month this year. Hosted by Paul Broughton of Featherston’s C’est Cheese and Michelin trained chef Ant North, seven courses of cheesey inspiration was a fitting tribute to truly specialist cheese. Nary a Fonterra fromage in sight, Ant and Paul brought us 15 of the 45 or so specialist and artisan cheese producers.
We started with gougere, fondue and a halloumi salad, above. Made by Featherston’s fabulous baker these were light, round crispy balls of deliciousness.
Snapper cerviche with Over the Moon chilli, garlic cheese was surprising hit.
Rog said this was his favourite dish this year, Bronwyn noted it as ‘perfect’. Silky, rich, earthy, yet some how with a lightness of angel wings. Mmm… perhaps the wine was really flowing now.
Wild venison and beetroot ravioli, rich umami sweetened with the burnt caramel’s of Mahoe old Edam and Kingsmeade Parmesan.
To finish Mahoe blue cheese ice cream and a chocolate and Barry’s Bay blue cheese brownie with a glass of El Candado sherry.
Gosh, what a feast my friends, and whilst each course included cheese, it wasn’t over whelming and we had space left for a final plate of just a few more little slivers of cheese.
What a lucky cheese geek was I? Full and happy, I slept well that night. And a week or so later I marvel at the two fabulous events that began and finished my October. Brought to life by Biddy from Eketahuna and Paul, above, from Featherston, they are a wonderful reminder that though many of us foodies live in cities, it is heartland New Zealand that is pioneering our cheesey revolution. So I salute them and encourage you to seek out the stunning small time cheeses our country is producing.