When I wasn’t devouring chocolate in Tasmania, in both liquid and solid form, I was eating cheese. We visited two cheese factories while we were there, and bought an enormous amount of cheese from both places.

The first we visited was the Pyengana Cheese Factory, which is about 20 ks out of St Helens, and sells a few varieties of clothbound cheddar. After having a tasting, we bought a mature cheddar and a chive & onion flavoured cheddar, both of which were beautiful – we ate them with crackers as a prelude to a crayfish dinner that night. The following day we returned to the Cheese Factory to buy some cheese to take to the boyfriend’s sister – we got another mature cheddar and chive and onion, and I bought a sundried tomato flavoured cheese. Fortunately, his sister really liked the sundried tomato cheese, as I didn’t like it at all – it was a very bitter cheese. I expected the sundried tomatoes to give it a much sweeter flavour.

When we were based in Hobart, we drove out to the Grandvewe Cheesery, which specialises in sheep’s milk cheeses. We had a very informative tasting, although some of the flavours were way too strong for me – notably the blue cheese, and their version of pecorino. I ended up buying a primavera, which was delicious (on the left of the above photo), and a soft cheese wrapped in vine leaves called Ewe Beauty, which had an unbelieveably silky texture – it’s the round cheese in the photo. I also bought a cow’s milk cheese called Manchego, and a fermented mutton sausage, which in hindsight was a bit of a mistake – I discovered I don’t particularly like fermented meats.

Visiting both cheeseries was fun. Pyengana was much more reasonably priced than Grandvewe, but they are offering more mainstream cheese. If you’re really into cheese, I’d definitely recommend visiting Grandvewe if you’re heading out that way (although don’t go too crazy over the cheese, as I did – you do have to eat it all, remember!). If you’re in a rental car, as we were, there’s a short dirt road (about 1 k) out to the cheesery, but it’s in good condition. Seeing the sheep in the barn was fun, and I wish we had been there in a season where they did milking demonstrations. I still have quite a few chunks of cheese to finish up – I’m thinking of using some of the sheep’s cheese in a souffle, which might highlight the flavours nicely. They’re lovely just in sandwiches, but there’s only so many cheese sandwiches I can eat!

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