Barry Charlton and Cheryl Hulls make the best blue cheeses in the world, according to the judges at the 2023 International Cheese and Dairy Awards in England.
Barry began making cheese in the 1970s, at the Drouin Cooperative Butter Factory and later at Jindi Cheese, where he made soft white mould cheeses. In 2007 the Gippsland couple founded Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese in Fish Creek, South Gippsland, some 170 kilometres southeast of Melbourne, and experimented for years to perfect their blue cheese recipes. The hard work paid off and they are now known internationally for their cheeses.
The secret to the success of these artisan cheesemakers is their ability to blend different cheese cultures to make incredibly complex, rich blue cheeses. They also understand that milk is a delicate primary product that deteriorates with heat and shock, so they use very gentle pumps to pump the fresh milk into the vats, so the fats are not damaged, and they pasteurise the milk low and slow to protect the calcium and protein. The curds are cut and hooped by hand, and the cheeses are aged for eight to 13 weeks. The duo use cow’s milk from a dairy herd three minutes down the road and, for their Riverine Blue, buffalo milk from a nearby farm.
Their cheeses have been met with much acclaim, being sold locally in the state’s best cheese rooms and gracing the cheeseboards of Melbourne’s best restaurants.
For the record, Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese was selected from among 5500 cheesemakers worldwide for the award of Supreme Specialist Artisan Cheesemaker, winning gold medals for each of the four blue cheeses it submitted to the awards held in Staffordshire.
Products: Cows’ milk blue cheese, cows’ milk soft white mould cheese, buffalo milk blue cheese
Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese, 740 Fish Creek-Foster Rd, Fish Creek, visit berryscreekcheese.com for a full list of retailers