Gallo Dairyland, Words by Janie Barton
Who doesn’t love cheese? It’s one of the most delicious foods available, and it’s so well loved that there is actually a National Cheese Lovers Day (January 20).
For connoisseurs, the cheeses made in Far North Queensland are among the best.
With milk from cows grazing year-round on lush Tableland pastures in natural outdoor environments, it’s no wonder our cheeses are winning industry awards and are loved by people throughout FNQ and Australia.
The region is home to two award-winning cheese makers – Mungalli Creek Bio-Dynamic Dairy and Gallo Dairyland. Both have mastered the art of cheese making and both create a range of delicious delights that have become award winners and are sought-after by local restaurants and retail outlets.
Mungalli, owned by the Watson family, started its cheese-making operations in 2000, although it has been running a dairy farm since the 1950s. Its range of cheeses include cheddar, feta, quark and ricotta – all of which can be found in 250 retail shops in FNQ and 50 oth-ers throughout Australia.
The Gallo family started making cheese in 2007 and has been operating a dairy farm since 1937. It also has a range of cheeses available including feta, halloumi, camembert, smoked cheese, cheddar and ricotta and also has a selection of specialty cheeses such as macadamia cheese, smoked tilset and a savory chives and onion blend.
Luckily for cheese lovers (and there are lots of us!) both outlets have cafes and shops on site where guests can sample and buy as much cheese as they want. Gallo also offers visitors the opportunity to see the cheese being made at certain times of the day.
There is definitely a fine art to making cheese. The time to make it differs depending on the type. Many take up to nine hours to make and softer cheeses, like feta and halloumi, can be ready to eat in a day or two. Others, like ched-dar, require a longer maturing process, which can take months.
For the die-hard cheese lovers, an organic farm at Lake Eacham offers cheese-making class-es, which are growing in popularity as word spreads. Cheese Making and More has been offering courses for 13 years and has cheese lovers from throughout FNQ eagerly signing up.
Owners Jude and Joe Nechwatal were once dairy farmers, but sold their cattle when they moved to a smaller property, but they did keep a few of their favourite cows. With an excess of milk, they decided to master the art of cheese making and share it with fellow cheese lovers. They offer one and two-day courses on how to make brie, feta, quark, cream cheese, riccotta, halloumi, cheddar and parmesan.
Be sure to include some of Far North Queensland’s delicious cheeses in your next cheese platter, supporting local producers and keeping your food miles low!
121 E Barron Rd, East Barron QLD 4883www.gallodairyland.com.au