Tony skinner 00:01
Hi and welcome to the podcast on www.podcastmybusiness.com.au and today we welcome Sam at www.cheesetherapy.com.au. And Yep, guess what we’re going to be talking about today. Cheese and the benefits of cheese and how they’ve gone through bushfires and Coronavirus and everything else in it managed to expand. Hi, Sam, how you doing?
I’m great. Tony, thank you very much for inviting me here.
Tony skinner 00:33
Now that’s cool. That’s good. And I will come up with some cheesy jokes I’m sure. And I well, and like I promised what we will mention Wallace. Robert, if nobody’s seen Wallace and Grommit, you need to because Wallace is obsessed with cheese. In fact, he’s obsessed with Wensleydale. So do you have Wensleydale cheese?
Oh, we actually do one of our small makers in Victoria about three hours east of Melbourne, a place called maffra. There’s a lady there written very over being her 70s. And she makes all English style cheeses but one of them in particular that is fantastic is her Wensleydale.
Tony skinner 01:17
Huh? Well, there you go, because of course, cheese, France and UK. So where did cheese originate?
Where the cheese originated? j so it’s a very, it’s a very good question. Now some of the chases date back a good 4000 years. You know, it’s interesting that, you know, Chase does predate religion in certain circumstances. There’s one for example, also irati, which is from the tyrannies straddles both sides of the French and Spanish border. And there are recipes that have been found dating back about 4000 years on that. Everything pre 4000 years really is speculation in terms of the the origin of cheese.
Tony skinner 02:10
Okay, and what about for Australia? I guess cheese came out with the first white settlers to Australia.
Yeah, it certainly did. Yeah, Cheeses has always been part of the Australian landscape just as dairy has been. But it’s really only been about sort of 40, 50 years ago, where we started to see the artisan cheese movement. And the reason for that was that our dairy industry was going through a very painful period. Probably 50, 60 years ago, we had about 60,000 dairy farms here in Australia. Today, we’ve only got about 6000. And what some of the smart dairy farmers recognized was that if they turn their product into cheese, they’re able to value add and get more money per liter for their cheese. So really, there are a couple of standouts being tarago River and mellower, cheese Coke, both in Victoria, who’s started and have led the artisan cheese movement here in the country. And I think a lot of these small makers, certainly around the country, do thank them very much for being the pioneers of this of this movement.
Tony skinner 03:32
Excellent. Okay. Now, of course you are based in Queensland. So there’s a lot of where were the regions I mean, I know Tasmania is becoming very famous for its cheese. But where does most artisan cheese come from in Australia?
Yeah, look, most of it is in Victoria. It’s got a very big cheese culture, but also a great dairy industry down there we do we actually run all of our operations out of jalon so that we’re closer to the cheese makers, because it doesn’t make sense for us to bring cheese from Victoria up to Queensland and then send it back down. So everything tends to be centered around Victoria. We’ve got some in South Australia, southern New South Wales and like you said, a few in Tasmania that are quite emergent so but you know, there’s the only state where I haven’t found great chase so far is Northern Territory, but you never know.
Tony skinner 04:33
Exactly. I’m sure they’ll come up with a one day a warm climate cheese I can just imagine a warm climate cheese and a warm corner wine going together and having tastings for that. So that’ll be very interesting. Okay, now talking about Victoria and she’s in the lichen we’ve all suffered through Corona, or Rhino as I say So has it gone for the business and the restrictions in Victoria on your business?
Oh, look, you know, I really do have to say that lockdowns here in Australia have helped us as a business. Yeah, we’re a we’re a home delivery business. And like most other home delivery businesses, we’ve seen an absolute boom in what we have. But our the boom in our business actually started a couple of months before, at the end of January, one of our cheese makers Mila, who I mentioned earlier, came to us asking for help, because what had happened was that because of the bushfires in their region, and that they’re absolutely devastating last summer, they had lost all of their tourist trade.
Now, they rely quite heavily on tourist trade to not just for that moment in time, but people going back to their towns and cities looking for Miller, which is in their local delis and stores. And they had made about two tons of cheese for the three, four months prior. But all that tourist traffic had gone. So redwing reached out and she just said, Look, Sam, I’m on the brink of financial ruin. If we don’t do something, could we do a middleware pack? And I thought to be honest, I thought we’ll sell 50 Miller packs, but we put the call out to Australians and in the month of February, we cleared those 2000 kilograms of milk cheese. We’ve got them back on their feet, and cleared out their cheese cave. And I think Helen, my partner and I got our last cheese pack out the first week of March and we thought to be honest, we just thought, oh, have good was every now let’s just wait for the Christmas rush to come in.
But lo and behold Three weeks later, we roll straight into Corona lockdowns. And all of a sudden, I’ve got every other cheese maker in the country calling me up and just saying, Sam, can you do for us what you did famila. And we realized that nobody else in the country was taking action. And we just needed to step up, we needed to take control of the situation and help these cheese makers. But to be honest, Helen and I had nothing to lose. You know, we’re an online business. It’s not like we have a lot of infrastructure, you know, that we’re risking, but we put it all out there. We put it out to Australians. And what we have really saying this year is that when Australian sees someone in need, they’re always going to be there to help and that’s what Australians did. Australians supported all the cheesemakers that we started promoting. And all of our cheese makers have made it through the last six months. And our cheese makers now aren’t eligible for job keeper. That’s how well they’ve been going. It’s bloody brilliant.
Tony skinner 08:10
Huh? That is really really good. Look, well done today. And you are as you saw on your website, you’re saving Australian cheese, and Australia so help me save Australian cheese. So what’s your favorite cheese?
Ah, I’ll tell you what my favorite cheese is the cheese I’m eating right now. And it look I don’t have a favorite cheese because cheese goes with the mood and what you’re drinking and eating with it the people that you’re sharing it with I What are particularly love is understanding the stories behind each of the chases. Now you have to remember that the chase makers that we support they’re all small you know generally family cheese makers, where I know each of them personally I speak to them every week I know what the story is I know you know when they’re milking what they’re milking how they’ve been maturing their cheeses, but also some of you know I know their background I know how they came to be. And I we had this same here at cheese therapy that you think sorry you taste with your mind. And it’s true The more you know about something the better something tastes so yeah, it’s the cheese my favorite cheese right now is whatever the story is that I’m loving the most.
Tony skinner 09:39
Hmm. Now I just got into the milliwatt cheese’s and I don’t know is this building correct cottage cheese stinky? Ah yeah,
of course. Yeah, because it stinks I wash right cheese I tell you what, so a wash Ryan cheese starts off as a cam Remember, you know those white mold cheese’s. But instead of it developing that nice soft fluffy white mold around the outside, they wash it in a brine each day, the first one or two weeks, and so you can wash it in a brine or whiskey we’ve got one cheese maker washes is in a stout can be done in wine. But what happens is that by washing this cheese as a wash, Ryan, that white mold doesn’t develop at a bacteria growth happens. And a really good wash right people will seek that thing out you can even smell it certainly before you before you before you see it. And it smells like dirty socks. But the flavors once you get it into your mouth, I just unbelievable. It’s it’s just such a mind bend of smelling something so bad, but tastes a damn good.
Tony skinner 10:56
So does that mean if I get my tasty cheese and leave it out and it goes moldy? That that’s what we’re aiming for.
Now you just gonna end up with moldy cheese in it.
Tony skinner 11:09
Because I know that’s a tradition, isn’t it? You know, you see you’ve got cheese in the fridge, and it’s got moldy and you cut it off and you go I can still eat it. Is that actually true?
No, that’s true. That’s true. So look, when we’re developing molds on cheese’s you know, obviously blue blue cheese is full of mold, our Kevin bears and triple cramps and those kinds of things. They’re all covered in mold. But even things like chitters. Yeah, cheeses are very hardy products. So you can simply scrape that, that mold off and it’s still good.
Tony skinner 11:46
Okay, oh, there we go. Okay, that’s good to know. So how can we help support cheese makers around Australia?
Oh, it’s very easy. Just jump on a www.cheesetherapy.com.au today. Now we’ve created a cheese maker pack for every cheese maker that we deal with. And so the beauty of this is that we don’t tell them what goes into their pack. They decide the cheeses that show off their business the best. So it’s great. So, you know, we sin, for example, a town in northern territory called Nolen boy, I had to look it up to see where non boys we saw sent about 50 packs to Nolan boy, this year, it’s so remote, but they’re eating cheeses from 40 Ks south of Hobart, you know, from nimbin Valley from South Australia. It’s amazing how what we’ve been able to achieve is to allow people to have access to beautiful projects from small makers, regardless of where they are in this country.
Tony skinner 12:51
Hmm, that’s really helpful. And what about markets, farmers markets, and they suddenly come back? I guess that’s another avenue, you can help cheese makers as well. Yeah, look,
you know, because we sort of we cover the national stuff. Now. I certainly encourage everybody if you aren’t in lockdown, and you can get to a farmers market, get there and support the small producers that show up their week, week in week out, because those guys are actually the micro producers. You know, most of these guys don’t have a Facebook page. They don’t have a website, but they turn up, you know, in some cases for years, because they just have this passion for producing cheese. So micro makers, at all those farmers markets, definitely please get down there and support your local makers.
Tony skinner 13:44
Absolutely. And what about in supermarkets do they get I know my local Woolworths, and I guess the same with Kohl’s. There’s all these cheeses and I’m thinking, hmm, it’s right near the exit to the store. But they split them up from cheddar cheese is another section. I’m thinking this is just a way for them to try and gather just extra cash as we leave.
Yeah, look, one of the I think one of the things that we’ve been able to achieve this year is shorten the time from the cheese maker to the plate. So when a cheese maker gives us the cheese maker pack, it’ll be on someone’s table within seven days. So the cheese makers now have that in their mind that they can now mature the cheeses so that the cheese that you’re tasting is exactly how the cheese maker wants you to taste it. But the problem with supermarkets is that they require six to eight weeks shelf life. And so what you’re often getting there is a really immature cheese that hasn’t developed the flavors. It’s you know, two months away from where the cheese maker would be. Want to but here’s my hot tip, Tony, my hot cheese monger tip. If you see a cheese on sale, like it can be a breeze, something like that. Do you see one on sale in a supermarket and it’s a quality cheese, that’s when you buy it because cheese actually tastes better after it’s best before day and not before.
Tony skinner 15:22
You know, I often look at cheese, especially in the deli section ago, and the little packs that were pre made sitting in the cling film. And I’ve heard that they should never be kept in the clean fool for that length of time.
Yep, that’s exactly right. Yep, that’s exactly right. So, you know, you just imagine anything that’s a living, you wrap it in plastic, you’re gonna suffocate it, if I put glad wrap around your head, you really wouldn’t like it too much budget. And it’s the same with cheese, white mold, you know, the blue mold, all those kinds of things. It’s a living, breathing organism. So that cheese, if it’s not in plastic is still growing, it’s still living, as soon as we suffocated, that changes in status to die, it doesn’t mature anymore, it’s pretty much stopped. So you know, great if you want a product lasting, you know, eight weeks, three months, four months on a shelf, but it’s not actually what we want. What we’re after is great tasting flavors, or after stuff that the cheese maker is proud of. And you’re not going to get that with Clara.
Tony skinner 16:38
Yeah, absolutely. And I love that tip. Buying after the best before date. Because Yeah, it’s misleading all those best before dates. On some foods. We have an expert here telling us what he can do. So please don’t take this as food advice, every single thing just on cheese’s just a little bit off to the US. Cool. All right. Thanks very much for that, Sam, anything else you’d like to add?
No, I think if people can just help the Australian cheese industry and also remember that there’s dairy farmers that supply to all of these small cheese makers. So the more Addison cheese that we’re able to sell right across the country, whether it’s from us, whether it’s from your farmers markets, or your local deli plays, get out there and support this great Australian industry because if we don’t, then we’re going to lose an art.
Tony skinner 17:32
Absolutely is an art. And I’ve got to the end and I didn’t make a single cheesy joke. So there we go.
I’m so disappointed Tony.
Tony skinner 17:43
So am I but there you go. All right. Thanks very much, Sam.
Thanks, Tony. Appreciate it.