It is the combination of a pristine cheese-making environment and the dedication of a passionate community that results in the premium quality cheeses of King Island Dairy.
Situated in the middle of Bass Strait, about halfway between Victoria and the North West tip of Tasmania, King Island is as rugged and isolated a place as you can get. Battered by howling winds and surrounded raging seas, the island has a unique environment unlike anywhere else, and for lovers of quality cheese, that’s a wonderful thing.
“It takes an entire island community to produce cheese – from farmers, milk truck drivers, cheese makers to wrappers and packers, and I think that’s what makes King Island Dairy so special.”
You see, for dairy farming, King Island is simply idyllic. With mineral rich soils, cool annual temperatures and abundant rainfall, the pastures of island are simply pristine. Then, there’s the added element of salt spray from the constant westerly winds salting the grass that feeds the cows. The result is a “sweet, unusually rich milk that you can taste in all our delicious cheeses,” says Cameron Bruce, General Manager for Specialty Cheese at King Island Dairy.
A LIKE MINDED COMMUNITY
Just as integral as the environmental factors are the people who help make the King Island Dairy story a success. From the dairy farmers who supply the milk, the truck drivers who deliver it, the cheese makers who lovingly craft the cheese, to the packers who hand wrap many of the products, the King Island Dairy family is a passionate community bound together by a desire to make the best cheese possible.
There are just 10 farms producing 100 per cent of the milk for King Island Dairy cheese. The milk is delivered daily, travelling no more than two hours from farm to dairy, so it is always fresh and there’s a true sense of trust, knowing and friendship between farmer and producer.
THE ART OF CHEESE MAKING
As soon as the milk is delivered to King Island Dairy, the art of cheese making begins. And an art it is, with experienced cheese makers lovingly crafting, handling and maturing the cheese. And once its ready to go to market, the cheese is wrapped and packed by a dedicated team, equally important to King Island Dairy as any along the production cycle.
“Our cheese making process is very labour intensive, with many of our products being handcrafted,” says Cameron. “Some of our wrappers can even tell who wrapped a particular cheese, simply by looking at the packaging style.”
The end result is a premium range of quality Soft White, Washed Rind, Blue Vein and Cheddar cheese that not only pleases the palates of cheese-lovers everywhere, but also wows judges at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.
From its early days in the 1900s, King Island Dairy has grown to become an icon of the island, integral to the lives of its entire community.
“It takes an entire island community to produce cheese – from farmers, milk truck drivers, cheese makers to wrappers and packers, and I think that’s what makes King Island Dairy so special,” says Cameron. “King Island Dairy’s unique position in the market over so many years is really a result of the passion of the King Island community in which the brand’s foundations were built.”
So when you’re browsing the cheese section at your local outlet, consider the history, passion and community spirit that is part of each and every King Island Dairy cheese.
This article first appeared at Wine Selectors