By Kate Foreman
Spruce up those cheese platters and delight your taste buds with Robe Dairy’s newest addition, St Clair brie. Owners David and Julie Hinchliffe, along with their 20 Jersey cows, are steadily growing their dairy into a viable small business and foodie’s favourite of the region.
They do it all, from milking the cows and making the cheese, to maturing the large traditional wheels of brie on the outskirts of Robe on the Limestone Coast.
Robe Dairy has already attracted national medals and a trophy for their products, and their rich Jersey milk has made them a household name in the South East. However it is the realisation of their vision to make French-style cheeses that is really getting the Hinchliffes excited.
“Our brie is inspired by the rustic farmhouse cheeses of France, and as far as we know it may be the only farmhouse cow’s milk brie in South Australia,” says Julie.
“We don’t stabilise the cheese, we don’t add extra cream or use ultra-filtration processing and we don’t take short cuts to give the impression of ripeness.
“Our rind is thin and fragile, which means the Brie can become quite rustic looking, we wanted to avoid the stereotypical thick white carpet of mould.”
Robe Dairy is reaching an important milestone with the release of their brie, having only been trading since 2014. To keep the integrity of their dairy, David and Julie take full control and make everything themselves.
“Unlike a lot of the mass-produced cheeses, we have a very small herd and we’re trying to make something which is as traditional as possible,” says David.
“Like our milk, we expect to have a seasonal variation in our cheese, which manifests in flavour and textural variation. Our cheese changes and develops rapidly, as opposed to stabilised cheese which stays uniform for much longer.”
The fact that some people find the brie flavour too intense for their palates hasn’t stopped the Hinchliffes producing a cheese they love in a traditional way. Julie believes it is the move people are making towards sourcing slow food which is made authentically that is making Robe Dairy a popular choice.
“I think it’s about making a connection, and both tourists and locals are looking for local food experiences,” she says.
“It’s about finding food that has been made with great care and respect. We’ll never be big, we want to keep things small and manageable.”
The recent introduction of their cheeses into Adelaide mean David and Julie are looking forward to having a strong demand for their boutique product in South Australia.
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