Timboon cheesemaker, dairy co-op form organic partnership

AFTER resurrecting cheese making in Timboon, L’Artisan Cheese’s Matthieu Megard is going a step further, teaming with an organic co-operative to create a new range from the purest ingredients.

Mr Megard, who began his traditional cheese making venture on the site of the iconic Timboon Cheese Factory in 2009, will partner the Organic Dairy Farmers Australia Co-operative to help fulfil his quest for creating quality, organic hand-crafted cheeses.

“Our emphasis on using the best local products has naturally pushed us to source truly pure, unique organic milk because it has such a significant impact on the cheese, from its texture, taste and colour to its creaminess,” Mr Megard said.

Joining with the organic co-operative will allow Mr Megard to begin creating a hand-crafted semi-hard mountain-style French cheese, something he said was only possible with untouched, organic milk. 

He now also has plans to convert his entire range.

L’Artisan Cheese has already won renown for its range of fresh and semi-hard cheese, which are sold in delis across the country and served in some of the nation’s finest restaurants, including Vue de Monde and France Soir.

Organic Dairy Farmers, fully owned by organic Victorian dairy farmers, now has about 22 members with a firm belief in farm sustainability and animal welfare.

Co-operative chief executive officer Bruce Symons said the partnership with L’Artisan Cheese would ensure products of unparalleled quality.

“Just as the quality of grapes and the types of grapes can impact on a wine, we truly believe that the quality of milk is no different, and by putting our milk in the hands of someone like Matthieu, it can produce incredible products,” he said.

“For the consumer it means more choice and a gourmet product created using the best organic milk available which is hand-crafted by a respected artisan cheesemaker, and for our farmers it will showcase the truly unique aspects of their milk.”

Mr Megard, a third generation French cheesemaker, moved to Australia in 2007 and was attracted to Timboon because of its rolling green countryside and the promise of fresh, local milk.

His ambition for creating traditional, organic cheeses does not end here. Mr Megard’s ultimate dream is to create an Australian raw milk hard cooked cheese, which he says allows the true flavours of the milk to shine through.

For now, though, the focus is on creating something special with the quality milk now at his disposal — “it’s what we call in France ‘vraiment remarquable’ — something truly remarkable.”

The new cheese range will be available from early 2013.

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