When I decided to create a range of cheeses that would be specific to a season some 6 or so years ago, I was told "it won't work " "consumers just don't get it" "it's not an Australian concept".
When you are forced to take notice and run your business with the breeding habits of goats in mind you do everything you can to make it work.
Our milk volume reduces by approximately three quarters for a period of 2- 3 months while goats carry their young and grizzle about the cold weather. They use their energy to keep their quite lean bodies warm and their unborn Kids happy.
While this is all natural and wonderful it makes it pretty hard going to run a business.
I would always cringe at the thought of saying "oh I am sorry I haven't got that cheese available for the next 2 months" However 6 or so years down the track and persistence with this concept, the conversation is more like ...
"'when are we likely to see Vigneron back in production?"and "when will you be releasing the NEW Seasons Pompeii?"
So mission accomplished. I have cheeses that have seasons. They are made with milk that is at its peak in terms of freshness, fat, protein and mineral content and it is perfectly determined by the animals themselves.
This is not say that cheese made well into the season is less attractive. It is to say that cheese made with spring goat milk is the BEST time for this cheese to be made. And you can taste the difference. In spring the goats will graze on young green shoots in pastures which are sweet and nutritious and this is transferred directly to the milk. Producing a floral and herbaceous smell in the cheese room that is truly unforgettable. I love this time and the way the cheeses come together with ease, the sweetness in the milk is a motivation in itself.
Distributors, Chefs and Wholesalers are now in step with us and our seasonal cheeses. It is these cheeses that are now the growth and personality of the business and they are also responsible for creating much interest with consumers.
As the goat milk now (March) starts to decline in volume we have ramped up our production of our Seasonal Cow milk cheeses of which there are 4, Pompeii our semi hard, washed rind with a distinctive layer of ash running through the centre, being the main one. The inspiration for this cheese came from 2 of my favourites. The French Morbier and the Italian Talleggio. I am not keen on copying, so I combined the attributes of both of these cheeses and came up with Pompeii. Borrowing the ashed layer in the centre of Pompeii from Morbier.
Cow milk is in brilliant form in the Autumn and winter given the green pastures and the Cows breeding habits not crossing over with the goat pattern.
I now have chefs ringing and inquiring "when will Pompeii be released?" "is it ready yet, how long have you matured it for?" " how long will it be available for?" . And I say YES! This is exactly where I wanted Woodside Cheese Wrights to be as a specialist cheese maker that has proved that things don't have to be available all the time to make them good. In fact it is sometimes it's the exact opposite.
We have 3 new seasonal cheese that will be released over the next 2 months made with mixed milk and cow milk.
Good cheese matters.
Woodside Cheese Wrights - Pompeii - Autumn - Winter