Kirsten McHugh of the Schoolhouse, Gerringong (founding member of Slow Food Saddleback) and continued supporter of our events has earned Gold Medal for her Goat Curd Cheese, Silver for Crescenza, a northern Italian style soft, creamy cheese and Bronze for her fabulous Halloumi at the Royal Easter Show. Congratulations Kirsten!
Kirsten’s products will be available at the Kiama Farmers Market from Wednesday April 5th.
Wins for local milk, local cheeses, and a local cheesemaker
Former Saddleback founder/convivium leader Kirsten McHugh of the Schoolhouse, Gerringong, has won a gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the RAS Sydney Royal Show Cheese & Dairy awards for three cheeses from her range. Her Golden Goat cheese won Gold in the mould-ripened goat cheese class, her Italian styled soft cheese Crescenza won silver in the fresh, unflavoured cheese class and her haloumi a bronze in the haloumi class. These awards follow previous successes in the Dairy Industry Association Australia annual awards for her haloumi in 2014 (Silver) and 2015 (Silver). Kirsten, the founder and producer of Foxground Handmade Teas, has been making cows’ milk cheeses since 2013, sourced from local Gerringong milk. Since that time she has been producing an expanding range of those cows’ milk cheeses- haloumi, Mountain cheese, blue, crescenza, camembert, quark and greek-style yoghurt. Her haloumi in particular enjoys strong support in the region and in Sydney, as does her crescenza. The haloumi is especially popular – grilled and eaten without or with accompaniments such as melon, pickled cucumber or chilli jam. The crescenza is a soft, creamy cheese (nothing like Philadelphia), based on a cheese of the same name which is a part of the hallowed food culture of northern Italy. Its fresh, milky flavour can be combined with so many others, and it is a delicious aid in baking or grilling.
Kirsten extended her range in 2016, sourcing local goat milk to produce a fresh goat curd, fresh chevre rounds, a goat milk version of the crescenza, and the Golden Goat cheese for which she has now won recognition.
In this cheese-making journey, Kirsten was the first artisan cheesemaker in our immediate region. While she attended some cheesemaking courses in Australia and New Zealand, her range of cheeses is a product of her application (over many hours), her palate as well as her motivation to contribute to the food branding of our region. She does not attribute any of her spirit, or success, to her background as a lawyer!
The Schoolhouse Goat Curd is on the menu at South on Albany in Berry, and the Schoolhouse Golden Goat cheese is on the menu at the hatted Caveau in Wollongong. It is also sold at the Emporium in Berry, with others of her range. All of her cheeses are available at the Schoolhouse in Gerringong. She sells at regional and Sydney markets, including the Kiama Farmers’ Market.
It’s exciting that award-winning cheeses are being made in Saddleback territory, showcasing beautiful local milk. Saddleback is pleased to congratulate her, and to applaud her as a Slow Food archetype producer and promoter of our region and what it can, and does, offer.
Watch this space for to another smart event at The Schoolhouse coming soon.