Disclosure: I was invited as a guest to the Australian Grand Dairy Award evening
Why hi there, would you like to eat all of Australia’s award winning dairy products and meet the people who make these lovely products?
Well obviously, you say yes; who doesn’t want to have cheese for dinner?
The Australian Grand Dairy Awards is as the name suggests, is the award for some of the best cheese, yoghurts, spreads and ice-creams around the country. It started in 1999, and has now reached it's 16th year. It’s quite a process to be awarded one of these grand awards, as in order to enter the competition, the product must have won gold in it’s category in a state competition first (or something along the lines), so it’s really the cream of the crop that gets picked. That, and around 300 products are tasted and graded until it's narrowed down to only around 30 items or so to be awarded.
We were treated to a fabulous evening, where we started with the milk category, moved to the spreadable, got greedy with the soft cheese, even greedier with the hard cheese and then dairy-coma-ed hard on the gelato, yoghurt and ice-cream.
It was a good night.
The Grand Dairy Award for milk, flavoured dairy drink and speciality white dairy drink went to Harvey Fresh’s Free Range Full Cream Milk, Norco’s Real Iced Chocolate Ultimate and Pauls Smarter White Milk respectively.
We were treated to a delectable dessert centered aroud Harvey Fresh’s Free Range Full Cream Milk made by Chef Jake Kellie; now at the helm of new restaurant The Lakeside Mill in Pakenham. The milk foam was to die for and so delicate and sweet with the blackberries and honeycomb.
Perfect bite size tarts were the best way to feature the award winning butter, Western Star’s Original Butter, fresh unripened these, Floridia’s Ricotta, and dairy dip, Paradise Beach Purveyors Smoked Trout & Cheese.
Although we all love milk and butter, eyes definitely started to sparkle when cheese started coming out. We saw Meredith’s Fresh Goat Cheese sandwiched into beetroot macarons, Green Valley Dairy’s Yoghurt Cheese Balls in Oil with Chilli and Unicorn’s Flinders Estate Ash Brief (which was interestingly served on some damper).
The hard and blue cheese’s are what really win me over though! I sorely wanted to steal the Heidi Farm Gruyere and motioned to our host and MC Alice in Frames multiple times that I actually was going to take all the King Island Dairy Blue Triple Cream with me. The King Island Dairy Stormy Washed Rind Cheese and South Cape’s Parmesan also washed down with their paired drinks beautifully.
Dessert was a full table of Willy Wonka goodness. I couldn’t resist getting right into the Dooleys Premium Chocolate Ice Cream and covering it in all the popcorn brownies and caramel goodies. Cow and the Moon’s panacea with strawberry and balsamic ripple gelato was also magical…it’s just a shame it’s only in Sydney (…for now guys?)! Ruby Roy’s Authentic Greek Yoghurt Divine also took home a grand dairy award.
The big winners of the night though, were the Heidi Farm Gruyere (one of my favourite cheeses of the night) which won the Grand Champion Cheese award and Bulla’s Creme Fraiche, taking home the Grand Champion Dairy Product award as well.
What I really loved about all these products though, is that although they are the best in their field, I loved how accessibly (most) of them are. I’m sure many of these cheese can be found in our supermarket fridges, or at the local boutique supermarket.
…which spells trouble for my waistline, and means I’ll probably be indulging in plenty of cheese dreams in the near future. But hey, in this life, there are no regrets!