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If you love tasting artisan cheese and happen to visit Sydney, Hunter Valley is the closest destination to fulfill your dream. Hunter Valley is home to over five of the best artisan cheese manufacturers that can be found in Sydney. If you are really into cheese, you can arrange a cheese talk with one of the Hunter Valley cheese shops. There are many day tour operators in Sydney who offer Hunter Valley cheese tasting tours, cheese, and wine pairing tours, and cheese-making tours. Below is a brief guide on how to choose the best cheese shops on your Hunter Valley wine tour from Sydney. It is essential to learn the five cornerstone elements of cheese tasting before you participate in any cheese tour. Below are our best tips from Sydney Top Tours to appreciate cheese on a cheese tasting tour.
Five cornerstone words in cheese tasting
You need to appreciate the beauty of the masterpiece before you taste it. The eye is one of the sensory elements and lets it observe the colour of the paste and rind. These visual clues elevated your tasting buds.
Give a good sniff before you do a cheese tasting. Subsequently, can you recall any food you tasted previously? Maybe it smells like the favorite flower you like. How about smelling notes of roasted nuts or vegetables? Try to describe the aroma by use of your own vocabulary.
Give a gentle squeeze and feel the cheese. Can you feel a crumbly texture? Or is it elastic? Or you may think it’s best to use a spread with toasties?
Yap… we all waiting for this. Cheese tasting at one of the shops at Hunter Valley. Take a bite and press the cheese against the roof of your mouth. Try to link back to previous sensory elements. Let it rest a few seconds in your mouth before you gulp it. Let to emerge flavours in your mouth.
Now you have basic knowledge of how to appraise a cheese. Now time to pair your cheese with accompaniment or a beverage. Cheese and wine pairing? Ideally the best. However, there are many other options you can try. Cheese and crackers, cheese and grapes, cheese and olives, cheese and cured meat, and cheese and honey are few other accompaniments you can try at the Hunter Valley cheese tasting tour.
Types of cheese you can taste at Hunter Valley
As the name explained, the hardest and drier cheese in the family. These cheeses come with heavily sharper flavours and more pungent aromas. Some of the common hard cheese includes Parmigiano-Reggiano, Edam, and Gruyere.
Semi-hard cheese made in wheels or blocks and a couple of common varieties is Red Wax Gouda and Emmental.
Washed-rind is one of the cheese varieties you can taste in the hunter valley. Washed rind and ripen from outside to in by assist of mold. In the process of making washed rind, usually, the cheese is bathed in or brushed with brine. These brines can be beer, wine, and any other solution as recipes of cheesemonger. The common washed-rind variations are Limburger and Appenzeller and usually an excellent pair to full-bodied wine.
Soft and creamy cheese with visible blue veins throughout. Blue cheese is pack with distinct sharpness and tangy taste.
Which shops to chose on cheese tasting Hunter Valley?
There are a few different artisan cheese manufactures and shops in Hunter Valley and below is a brief introduction to them.
Hunter Valley Cheese Factory
A family-owned business in Hunter valley and leading by cheese expert Rosalie. Up to our knowledge, Hunter Cheese co is the oldest in the region and was established in 1995. The offering from Hunter Valley cheese factory includes five cheese tasting, cheese, olive & regional preserves, and lunch tasting platters. The prices of these can vary from 8 to 15 Australian dollars. Apart from in-store cheese tasting at Hunter Valley, they offer online shipping too. Please contact them for more information. If you take a day trip to Hunter Valley from Sydney and the shop is in the corner of McDonald’s road and Mercure hotel. The shop is opened daily; however, it can be quite busy during the summer months.
Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese shop
Another oldest and well-established artisan cheese manufacture in Hunter Valley. The smelly cheese shop is not only famous for its cheese but also gelato. The gelato from Hunter Smelly cheese shop is well accoladed. They won recent appreciations, such as Gelato Maker of the year in 2005. Smelly cheese shop adds an overwhelming cheese tasting experience to any traveler by offering local and international cheese varieties. For example, Viking Danish Blue from Denmark, Gorgonzola from Italy are a few of those. The cheese shops are located in the Roche estate complex and usually open from 10 am to 5 pm. However, we advise you to contact them in advance before making a cheese tasting tour to Hunter Valley.
Binnorie is a fairly young cheesemonger to Hunter valley in comparison to Smelly cheese and Hunter cheese co. Opened in 2003 and soon after that, they were able to establish a good reputation in Hunter. An artisan cheese factory located in the Lovedale area of hunter valley. Many travelers on a hunter valley cheese tasting tour miss this shop as it’s situated away from McDonald’s and Broke road. These two roads are most traveled by hunter valley tours and Lovedale, not the favorite as it needs a quick detour from wine country drive. Labana, marinated fetta, ripe brie, and washed rind are most famous with Binnorie Dairy.
Hunter Belle cheese room
Owns by the Chesworth family and one of the cheese shops in Hunter Valley won several medals from the Royal Sydney Diary show. Their range of cheese includes soft, hard, blue, and club cheddar. The other facilities offer by Hunter Belle are wedding cake cheese towers and on-site cafe.
Health benefits from cheese tasting
Cheese recognized as one of the most nutritionally completed food in the world. Surely, that’s the first point you can justify a tour to Hunter Valley for cheese tasting. Cheese is an excellent source of proteins, peptides, and amino acids. It also contains lipids, free fatty acids, and calcium. Lastly, cheese acts as an agent of cardioprotective due to some of the fats it has. Now you get ample benefits on why to plan a cheese tasting trip to Hunter Valley.
Cheese and wine pairing tips
A study shows that Australian red wines were better accompaniment with cheese than whites. Lighter body red wines like Pinot Noir is a perfect match with lower-fat cheese Parmigiano Reggiano. Also, Pinot Noir seems to be the most “Cheese friendly Wine” overall. If you are a Blue cheese lover, dessert wine like late-harvested Semillon is a perfect match (Harrington and Hammond, 2005). We recommend trying Brie with Chardonnay. And why not try Belford Chardonnay from one of the best Hunter Valley wineries; Tyrrells.
Be an expert and learn cheese vocabulary
Now time to pretend that you are a cheese expert. You can define cheese as spoilage of milk. Rennet is an enzyme used during the coagulation process. The skin of the cheese is called rind. Some cheese rinds are edible and some are not. The cheesemaking process is called affinage in cheese vocabulary.