I love Tasmania. I love it for its beauty as much as for its diversity. But I love it even more for its innovative food industries, especially when it comes to cheese… and spirits…
Now that probably makes me sound like an inebriated glutton. I’m not. I meant that in an appreciative sense – I could quite happily be living in the sticks somewhere making cheese and moonshine. It is for this reason that I can easily understand the passions that may have fuelled Grandvewe Cheese, a sheep milk cheesery, also the home of Hartshorn Distillery, overlooking the serenely beautiful Birchs Bay district of Southern Tasmania.
Let me redefine my initial statement by narrowing it down to sheep’s milk cheese and vodka – strange bedfellows, but not when the vodka is made out of sheep milk whey – which is exactly what they do at Grandvewe/Hartshorn.
Back tracking a little, Grandvewe Cheese is a scenic 40 minute drive from Hobart. My plan was to leave early and have breakfast enroute. I would suggest not doing this, as there is essentially nowhere to have breakfast early enroute. We ended up having an apple and a really bad coffee that we got at a little servo, which we tried to enjoy on a little fisherman’s jetty. Sounds romantic… yeah… nup.
I was starving by the time we got to Grandvewe, so couldn’t wait to start trying the cheeses.
We were greeted by a divinely lovely Pauline Treillard. She’s French. Which should say it all. Her lyrical French accent made everything sound so magical. Unfortunately it was her last day, so you won’t get a chance to meet her. Visiting on a working visa and doing a temporary stint as assistant cheesemaker, her visa was up, and she was off to New Zealand on to a new adventure (booo L). But she was ours for the morning, and she was passionately sharing how she had spent her last few months.
From Perigueux, in Dordogne, where she had begun her career as affineur and sommelier (sooo jealous), she had spent the last few months sharing her expertise with owner, entrepreneur, and award winning cheesemaker, Diane Rae, who had moved to Tasmania (from Queensland) in 2001 to put her dream in motion and create Grandvewe. It is a grand view, by the way, and there is a grand ewe – many of them.