What: Tasmania is the home of Australia’s very first cheese factory, and the island’s love for this most wondrous of dairy products knows no bounds. It may be tiny, but when it comes to quality, Tasmania punches way above its weight. You only need to look at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards, where Tasmanian dairies won nearly half the prizes on offer for 2017, including the top honor of Grand Champion!
These accolades may come as a surprise to some, but after exploring Tasmania’s verdant valleys, reveling in its drenching rains, and experiencing the pristine qualities of both air and water, you’ll quickly understand its success. There are more than a dozen cheese producers dotted across the Tasmanian landscape, all producing cheese of an exceptional quality. Time for a cheese crawl!
Where: Bruny Island, home of the Bruny Island Cheese Co. (1807 Main Rd., Great Bay, map), is one of Tasmania’s iconic destinations, and getting there is half the fun: first by car, along the island’s picturesque southern coastline; then, from Kettering, by ferry across to Bruny Island; and finally another short drive to the facility itself. Allow a couple of hours each way for one very memorable road trip.
What started as a tiny enterprise for founder and artisan Nick Haddow has grown significantly over the years, reflecting both the popularity of the cheesery and Bruny Island more broadly. Cow’s milk cheese produced via traditional techniques (and from well-treated cows farmed sustainably) is the name of the game here, fueled by a burning desire to create distinctly Tasmanian cheeses reflecting their sense of place. You can do cheese tastings at the cellar door, but if you’re looking for a more substantial meal they also have a sit-down cafe among the tall Tasmanian gum trees, and a range of delicious beers on tap from the on-site microbrewery.
When: Daily, 9:30am-5pm. This is a perfect day trip from Hobart, so plan your day around a lunch at the Bruny Island Cheese Co., and be sure to leave enough time to catch the ferry back to Kettering.
Order: Bruny Island Cheese Co. makes nine different cheeses of varying styles and flavors, but its most iconic is known simply as the C2. It may not sound exciting, but this cheese is by far the most unique not just in Tasmania, but across the country: It’s the first and only cheese made anywhere in Australia from unpasteurized, or raw, milk. While a slice of the intense C2 (AU$22.50/kg) is fantastic by itself, we recommend settling in with a platter ($30) and a bottle of Tasmanian sparkling wine, or perhaps a pint or two of Bruny Island Beer Co.’s refreshing Farm Ale ($9.50).
Good to know: If the journey to Bruny Island isn’t possible, you can also find Bruny Island Cheese Co. cheeses stocked in numerous delicatessens and gourmet food retailers in Hobart and throughout Tasmania.
Alternatively: If you don’t have much time in Hobart, drop by either the Wursthaus Kitchen (1 Montpelier Retreat, map) or Hill Street Grocer (70 Arthur St., map), where many of Tasmania’s very best cheeses are available to taste and purchase. Keep an eye out for the following cheese makers: Heidi Farm (the Grand Champion!), Red Cow Dairies, King Island Dairy, Pyengana Dairy Company, and Grandvewe Cheese.
Additionally, many of Hobart’s fine dining restaurants include a cheese platter on their menu, such as Landscape Restaurant and Grill (23 Hunter St., map). It’s a great way to finish your meal with a taste of Tasmania!
Photo courtesy of Bruny Island Cheese Co.