Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cheese: Indigo Cheese Company

This is quite the bittersweet post. The cheese made by Paula Jenkin at the Indigo Cheese Company have been considered to be the best examples of goat cheese in the country so it's with much sadness that the news came this week of it's closure. Unprofitability the reason behind the decision.

This resonates with something my favourite deli owner told me as I searched for a new cheese to taste - Australians don't buy Australian cheese. It's a no-brainer then that if we don't buy it, they don't get stocked but if they aren't stocked, how can we buy them?

In compiling this series there has been a difficulty in finding a broad variety of cheese - there are many dairies I'd love to show but I'm unable to find their cheese. I can only be thankful to the various farmers' markets that have allowed me access to a greater number of cheese than can be found via traditional retail outlets.

This brings me back to Indigo Cheese Company - this has been one of those that I've found elusive - until today.

cheese

Cheese Maker: Indigo Cheese Company
Cheese Name: Aged Gracefully

There it was sitting unassumingly in the cheese cabinet of Leo's in Kew, almost lost amongst it's much larger companions. Aged Gracefully is a demure cheese, small in size but not in impact.

outside

Freed from it's wrapper you see that it indeed has "aged gracefully". This is a matured goat cheese, made in the French style (Crottin).

It starts it's life as another cheese made at Indigo called Grace (which is like a French Chabicou). Grace is sold as a youngster (about 2 to 8 weeks) but some are left to develop for 3-4 months. In this time the rind becomes covered with both white and blue moulds and it looses quite a bit of it's moisture. Where Grace weighed about 125 grams, Aged Gracefully weighs less than 80 grams.

inside

Sliced you can see that the rind is quite thin and the cheese doesn't show any traces of moisture. It's a little crumbly when sliced and you might think that it could be a little dry or chalky.

aged gracefully

It's most pleasant to find that it isn't - in fact it had a wonderful creaminess balanced with a tinge of acid in the form of subtle lemon overtones. It's a cheese that's satisfying and well worth savouring and spending some time with. Unfortunately once this is finished there will be no more.

Vale Indigo Cheese - We hardly knew you.

6 comments:

  1. What a shame. I heard recently from Benjamin Christie that the native Australian restaurant industry is having a bad time too. So it sounds like Australians just aren't buying local indigenous produce right now. My mum is at a wedding in Wagga Wagga this week and after seeing the menu for the wedding feast she told me there wasn't much on the menu that she couldn't have eaten here in London. I guess you can only plug away at promoting your national fare and hope things change.

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  2. Sorry to be delurking too late in the game. I spent a year in Melbourne 2 years ago (I'm originally from New York, and can't even begin to tell you how much I miss it and would love to move back. But, anyway...) and fell in love with many of Australia's native cheese; at home, I'm lucky to find NZ cheeses, the only thing I can get that's Australian is wine (and, if I'm lucky, Tim Tams at 500% markup at the import specialty shop. Guess what I'm getting for my birthday?)

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  3. Ah Trig, I probably wouldn't put too much faith in anything said by Benjamin (or Vic for that matter) - they are more sploggers than bloggers. If you follow the links you might find some interesting things about them. As for wedding food, it would rare indeed to find it other than uninspiring and always consisting of some sort of chicken for the girls and red meat for the guys.

    Hi Tanya and delurking is welcome at anytime! Tim Tims, they are our secret weapon to take over the world - I hope you get a basketful for your birthday!

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  4. Great shame about the cheese, especially when you visit the supermarket and see what rubbish people are throwing in their trolleys.

    These cottage industries simply cannot survive against a welter of supermarket monopoly, government bureaucracy and red tape and public indifference to genuine products made by artisans.

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  5. We, as the public need to get over our own inferiority complex when it comes to things like cheese and the cheese makers need to come to the party and become visible. It is so hard actually finding any information on a lot of these products since so many of them have no web presence or minimal web presence. We supposedly live in the information age, it's about time it became more of a reality.

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  6. That is a shame - we have such great cheeses and I would think foodies would support the local product. Set-up costs would be enormous too, and then getting the word out about your product.

    It's thanks to people like you, highlighting local products, that give it such a boost. I always jot down your recs and look out for them when I'm shopping. They're quite hard to find, but I always keep them in mind. Please keep it up!

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