New Industry Prospect: Caramelised Fig

Look at these cheeses from Bruny Island. I know lots of areas around Australia

Cheesy grins: Christine with Bruny Island Cheese owner Nick Haddow

Cheesy grins: Christine with Bruny Island Cheese owner Nick Haddow

make great cheese but I have to claim a bias for Tasmanian, including King Island varieties. Having said that I am devastated that I can no longer seem to buy Piano Hill Farm House cheese from Victoria. It is fantastic grilled on toast. The best I have ever tasted. Does anyone know where you can buy it in Tasmania or Canberra?The only cheese we had as a child was Pyengana cheddar made from unpasteurised milk which was bought in big rounds from Wells store in Latrobe. It was very strong in flavour and my sister and I used to refer to it as rat’s cheese but my father loved it. When the use of unpasteurised milk was banned, cheeses like Pyengana protested to no avail but now grown up with a love of strong cheeses, I am delighted that there is a push to overturn the ban and give cheese makers the chance to practice their craft again unencumbered.

Bruny Island's beautiful cheese

Bruny Island's beautiful cheese

Yesterday I went to celebrate Bruny Island cheeses success at a function in Hobart and had a few words to Minister Martin Ferguson encouraging him to have Australia follow New Zealand in overturning the ban. While I was at it, I had a small taste or two of the cheeses on offer. I am very partial to Bruny Island Tom which goes well with caramelised fig. I tried to caramelise figs at home once as a result of having this cheese experience and ended up with a sticky mess but I am not beyond trying again if someone has a good recipe because it is hideously expensive in gourmet shops..over $60 a kilo. It makes the cheese look cheap.

10 thoughts on “New Industry Prospect: Caramelised Fig

  1. Good on you Christine!

    I don’t know how much luck you’ll have with the minister, he seems an interesting sort, but it’s certainly a good cause!

    Whilst I have only anecdotal evidence, there seems to be a HUGE increase in people experiencing lactose intolerance, this is ( perhaps partly) due to current regulations stating that milk has to be heated to a certain temperature, this temperature kills the enzyme that would used to have helped us digest the lactose contained.
    Add this to the harm caused to the economy via the impact to the cheese and the rest of the dairy industry, and the imact on our tasting pleasure!

    Surely if tobacco can be sold on the proviso that health warnings are included, the cheese industy could compromise with a ‘drink responsibly’ or ‘contains caffiene’-esque warning!?

  2. The figs, the figs! Yum. And with that cheese. Bliss. And very good plan re the unpasteurised milk. But hanging out with Martin Ferguson? This terrible for your reputation Christine.

  3. A good place in Hobart to buy these delicious cheeses is at Eumarrah.

    We had a lovely picnic dinner one night during a recent stay at Bruny with friends – the only thing we cooked was potatoes, Tasmanian of course. The rest was island products, and the cheeses were the centrepiece (we like Oen and The Bastard particularly), with granny smith apples from our own garden.

  4. I am heartened to discover one politician in this country has spoken up for real dairy.

    As you know there is currently a review going on and this review has been open for submissions, but its preliminary report has been most discouraging and even misleading.

    The preliminary report included a major scientific blunder in suggesting that raw milk promotes the growth of Campybolacter bacteria – which has been scientifically disproven.
    If you are interested you can read my response to this here:

    Please be aware that this issue does go way beyond our right to have gourmet cheeses in this country. It is about the right to buy good quality food from local suppliers, which pasterurisation laws and current dairy monopolies deny us.
    My wife and I are lucky to have a milking goat and my wife continues to consume fresh raw goats milk all through her current pregnancy. Some may argue she has been lucky – but my instinct tells me a healthy animal produces healthy milk, and imparts that health to those she provides for.
    I have also at times made a delicious raw feta from her milk which I have illegally given to members of my extended family and friends to enjoy.

    I don’t know what the FSANZ has in mind with this review, however we see that it is likely that the nationalisation of pasteurisation laws will see the few rights that some states currently enjoy further curtailed. In particular the banning of
    of “bath milk” is likely in their sites – which will wipe out the current only means that most Australians can access raw milk now.

    There is an online petition that you can support:

    But please speak to other members of parliament no matter what side of politics they belong to. I know Senator Abetz did express some sympathy for the cause when I spoke to him.


    Gordon Rouse – real food campaigner

    • Dear Gordon,
      Thanks for your very considered response. I am passionate about this issue and will do all I can to make sure that sense is restored to the debate. Relocalisation is a key campaign for me as with climate change and peak oil it is essential but it is also critical to rebuilding communites and making them helathier and happier. Not knowing where your food comes from or how it is grown is a growing concern in the community from health, equity,food security, environment and animal rights perspectives.\
      Cheers C

  5. I am so pleased to see you speaking up for cheeses made with unpasteurised milk.

    I concur with Gordon Rouse and ask that you raise the profile of unpasteurised dairy with other members of parliament.

    I too have been following and contributing to the FSANZ review and must admit the process has left me with very little respect for the FSANZ and its functions. I can’t for the life of me understand why so many chemicals and dubious ingredients are allowed in our foods whilst high quality unpasteurised milk, which people have drunk for centuries isn’t allowed.
    note: by high quality, I mean milk from animals that are fed their natural diet, raised in natural surroundings and the milk is processed using hygienic methods.

    In various countires in Europe once can not only readily purchase cheese made from unpasteurised milk but they also have lots of milk kiosks where people can collect their unpasteurised milk at any time.

    • Hi Jo,
      I am on a mission to have unpastuerised milk cheese available again. As you know I was brought up on a dairy farm and so had unpasteurised milk for my entire childhood. I sat in the lid while my mother churned the butter in our kitchen and all our cakes were oozing cream. Our pigs were fed straight from the dairy after seperating the milk and cream. It was a wholesome and healthy life, if a little heavy on the butterfats side!!!
      cheers C

  6. If you have ever been to France you will know how ridiculous all the fuss in Australia is, about pasteurised milk for cheese. It is about as stupid as saying we must not use unpasteurised fruit juice to make ice blocks. Like smallpox, TB has disappeared in Australia and we no longer have any excuse for enforcing pasteurisation of milk at all, even for those of us who want to drink it in its natural state. I have spent many years drinking raw milk from a friend’s dairy with no ill effects.
    Good luck and thanks, Christine.

    • Thanks Kate. I followed up in the Senate this week on the subject and I can send you the transcript if you would like. We all have to get involved in the review that is going on at the moment. Now that New Zealand has changed the laws there our producers are at a disadvantage as NZ will be able to export into our markets.

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