A pioneering dairy family make award-winning crème fraîche and mascarpone.

Yea Brand is a small dairy manufacturer owned by the Kirk family and run by three brothers, Andrew, Matt and Steve. Their father, Bill, was a pioneer in the dairy industry, taking over the King Island co-operative factory on the isolated Bass Strait island in 1978. There, he perfected a recipe for making cultured cream, often known as crème fraîche.

The Kirks sold the King Island Dairy decades ago and the new owners ceased making crème fraîche. In 1989, the Kirks came across a little dairy factory in Yea, 132km north-east of Melbourne. There they reinvigorated their passion for making crème fraîche and mascarpone.

“There is a lot more to making a great crème fraîche than adding culture to cream,” says Andrew. The rich and tangy cultured cream has won the Champion Cream award at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards and is used extensively in restaurants where it competes head-to-head with imported products.

The Yea Brand mascarpone, like the crème fraîche, is made with Victorian cream. It’s warmed and mixed with a coagulant and cultures. The coagulants help release the whey and firm the texture while the cultures help ripen this very soft cheese and give a rich flavour. The mascarpone is drained overnight through cheesecloth and then packaged.

Both the crème fraîche and the mascarpone are sold in popular food stores and independent grocers, while the food service and hospitality industries are provided for with 500g containers available through distributors.

Products: Yea Brand crème fraîche, 250g, and Yea Brand mascarpone, 250g.