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A jolly tasty cheese made with SA river mint

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Adelaide Hills-based Woodside Cheese Wrights is set to debut a new buffalo cheese made with South Australian river mint at a major food event this month in New York.

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Woodside has been using Australian native ingredients in its products for around 16 years, and The Jolly Swagman – to be exhibited at the Fancy Food Show specialty food industry event from June 23-25 – is the latest in a string of products to go global.

River mint is found across south-eastern Australia in moist forests and around waterways like billabongs (hence the name of the new cheese, inspired by the lyrics of “Waltzing Matilda”).

The mint used in The Jolly Swagman is hand-harvested and dried in the Riverland, says head cheesemaker and Woodside Cheese Wrights CEO Kris Lloyd.

The cheese is made in two parts: a bottom layer of halloumi-like cheese is created and left to settle before being covered in river mint and layered with more cheese.

Kris Lloyd, CEO of Woodside Cheese Wrights.

“It’s like a sandwich and when we cut it into its portions you’ll see the vein of river mint running right through the cheese,” Lloyd says.

“The buffalo milk is really rich. It’s high in milk solids and fat and so it has a really beautiful and rich texture to it and a really lovely flavour.

“The cheese is actually brined for a period of around 14 days. So it’s quite a salty cheese, as that kind of cheese generally is, but it can just be rinsed off… with spring water and that will take that salt level back a little bit.”

Woodside Cheese Wrights also produces cheeses infused with bush foods such as lemon myrtle, saltbush, pepper berries and edible flowers.

The company was awarded “Super Gold” at the World Cheese Awards in 2016 for its Anthill cheese, a soft goat cheese (chevre) topped with green ants.

This success helped launch Woodside Cheese Wrights into the United States, and it now also sells a range of goat, cow and buffalo cheeses in Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai.

Lloyd says using native Australian ingredients has helped the company continue to expand across the globe.

She says one of the joys of working with such ingredients is their abundance.

“I really like the idea… that we are absolutely truly representative of Australian cheese and what Australia has to offer as far as culinary additives and flavours.”

As well as the Jolly Swagman, this year Lloyd has been working on a soft buffalo cheese encrusted with South Australian saltbush and petals from callistemon (also referred to as bottlebrush, and part of the family Myrtaceae). Known as Flinders, the cheese gets its name from navigator and scientist Matthew Flinders.

Lloyd hopes to have both cheeses available in Woodside Cheese Wrights stockists across Australia later this year.

This article was first published on The Lead.

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