Cheesy grinners

By Grace Jones | posted on March 22, 2019

DENMARK fromager Chris Vogel of Dellendale Creamery has made history after two of his cheeses were named the best cheese in Australia at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

For the first time in award’s history, a Western Australian took out the coveted prize with the Dellendale Torndirrup Appenzelle being named champion semi-hard cheese and the Torndirrup Native Herb named champion flavoured cheese.

Mr Vogel said it was “quite neat” winning the prizes and that it showed Dellendale Creamery was “going somewhere”.

The Torndirrup Native Herb had a special place in Mr Vogel’s heart as it was created as a tribute to the Albany and Denmark areas.

“When we were creating Native Herb we wanted to create a product that doesn’t piggy back off European products,” he said.

“Consumers travel a lot so we wanted to make something that could be associated with the area.”

Mr Vogel said Native Herb was a tribute to a cheese that is washed by a blend of 18 different herbs from the Swiss mountains that “only two blokes know the blend” of.

“We don’t list the ingredients in our Native Herb as the blend is our intellectual property,” he said.

“It’s as unique to Albany as the Gap is or the Porongurup’s are.

“We keep it close to our chest.”

The Torndirrup Appenzelle is described as a Swiss style hard cheese with a golden wash-rind that is matured on average for three months with rich, spicy aromas and a dense but smooth texture.

This weekend Dellendale Creamery will be judged for the annual Dairy Industry of Australia WA Dairy Product Awards that Mr Vogel said could qualify them for the 2020 national awards.

“We have entered our Peaceful Bay Gruyere, Somerset Hill Cheddar, Nullaki and Outback Brie,” he said.

“The Gruyere is aged for around 15 months which is a long time to invest and see a return.

“The flavour profile is really nice and can change depending on milk production and the season the cow is milked.”

Mr Vogel said the Nullaki cheese was a semi firm cheese washed with roasted wattle seed that changed the colour of the rind to a coffee or hot chocolate colour and gave the cheese an earthy taste.

The Outback Brie had an orange washed rind reminiscent of the outback.

“I’m hoping that the brie starts winning some things,” he said.

“It doesn’t have a full strength mould taste and has a lot less mould on the surface than a traditional mould cheese.”

Mr Vogel said he had received tremendous support from Great Southern cheese fans and said customers should try and look for the Buy West, Eat Best logo when shopping.

“I don’t think people really realise how the Buy West program supports local producers,” he said.

“Ninety nine per cent of my product is sourced from Western Australia and the one per cent I have to get elsewhere because it’s not made here.

“Buying a product with the Buy West local supports farmers in a way that has a trickle down effect.

“It supports the cheese maker, that supports the dairy farmer, that supports the grain distributor that supports the grain farmer. It really is a good thing.”