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French flavour added to feast of ferment and fromage events

Food & Wine Events

The inaugural combined CheeseFest+Ferment festival will showcase a more ‘matured’ Australian cheese industry, including beer and gin cheese pairings, a “French quarter” of cheese and champagne and cooking demonstrations with an impressive line-up of celebrity chefs.

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Woodside Cheese Wrights head cheesemaker and director of CheeseFest and Ferment the Festival, Kris Lloyd, says about 80 producers will be represented on the CheeseFest+Ferment program, to be released at tomorrow’s festival launch.

She has also brought together a list of well-known chefs, including MasterChef Australia judge Matt Preston and alumni Jessie Spiby and Callum Hann as well as Symon Bryant, Karena Armstrong (Salopian Inn), Sharon Flynn (The Fermentary) and Josh Kim (Level One Electra House).

Lloyd launched Ferment the Festival at Rundle Park last year, after the O-Bahn track construction prevented CheeseFest from returning to its Rymill Park home.

She describes the new combined festival as a “perfect match” of fermented goods – including natural wines, charcuterie, sourdoughs, ice creams, kimchi, kombucha, chocolate and spirits – and cheese.

“Ferment last year was amazing; I thought it was a step in a different direction for me as far as festivals go,” Lloyd tells InDaily.

“But we know that everyone missed CheeseFest, it’s such a loved festival here in South Australia and I thought, it would be nice to walk down the street and not get daggers for not doing it.

“It makes so much sense to have the opportunity to introduce the CheeseFest crowd to some of the fermented things and vice-versa.”

Lloyd says while the full list of producers is yet to be confirmed, the festival will feature an abundance of produce available to taste and purchase from local and, for the first time, international producers .

New events at this year’s festival include 20-minute cheese “speed tastings” with gin and beer pairings, which Lloyd hopes will help broaden people’s perception of how cheese should be consumed.

“It’s really quite incredible how people just box it in to one thing – cheese and wine – but it’s really very exciting to just have a look and see how these other beverages work so beautifully with cheese,” she says.

“I think it’s the fat in the cheese that’s a great vehicle for the gin and the botanicals to rise above some of those notes that you get in the cheese.”

The French Quarter is another new addition, featuring champagne and French wine courtesy of Pol Roger, as well as French cheeses and charcuterie from the Smelly Cheese Shop and other outlets.

“I’ve been very guarded about Cheesefest for a while, really wanting to keep it something just for Australian, in particular South Australian, producers, but I feel like we’ve matured,” Lloyd says.

“I don’t feel like our cheese industry is still an emerging industry – I feel it’s now an established industry that’s holding its own and doing its own stuff.

“Given South Australia has now partnered with France, I thought it would be a good opportunity to expose people to something different and bring CheeseFest to a global level.”

Cooking demonstrations will also feature heavily on the program, with dishes ranging from pork buns by Karena Armstrong, Matt Preston’s take on mac and cheese and “blonde kimchi” by Josh Kim.

“Kimchi originally was always white and it’s sort of the modern day kimchi that’s got the Korean chilli powder, which is a combination of some herbs but mainly chilli added to it,” Lloyd says.

“The kimchi that Josh’s grandmother taught him to make was actually without that – it was blonde, and tastes a lot fresher to what we consume now.”

CheeseFest+Ferment will take place at Rymill Park, Murlawirrapurka, on October 27 and 28.  

Tickets are available for pre-purchase on the CheeseFest+Ferment website.

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