What Would They Know? Victoria McClurg of Barossa Valley Cheese Company

by | Cake Wisdom, The Cake Issue, What Would They Know?, Wisdom

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Polka Dot Bride
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The Barossa Valley in South Australia is a hive of artisan food producer activity and a foodies heaven. It is here that Victoria of the Barossa Valley Cheese Company has chosen to base her cheese making business. An artisan cheese producer she sources local cows milk and goat milk to make her cheeses, passionate about showcasing the farmer’s produce to make cheeses that speak of the local Angaston region. Enjoy being guided by Victoria and her team to create a cheese stack with locally sourced condiments for an alternative wedding cake – just the ticket for cheese lovers, or while away an afternoon sampling cheeses with gin, cider, beer, wine or tea. Then fill your car with the spoils of a day sampling the local wares – what could be more pleasurable than that! We chat to Victoria about all things cheese and showcasing the Barossa region with her wonderful artisan cheeses.

 

Please describe your journey to the world of cheeses.

“Our dream is to create something for people to share and enjoy”

The Barossa Valley Cheese Company is a labour of love for me. It all began, oddly enough, while making wine in Bordeaux. I was inspired by the range of artisan cheeses that are part of the natural rhythm of life there, so I set out to learn the art of cheesemaking and bring my new found passion home to the Barossa.

In March 2003 at the Barossa Valley Cheese Company, I opened the production and retail outlet in the heart of Angaston. Since then, we have achieved recognition at a national level for both our cheese and our tourism experiences that we offer at the Cheesecellar. It’s been an incredible 15 years and looks set to be a sensational journey into the future.

Where are you situated?

The heart of Angaston in the Barossa Valley (South Australia).

Is the Barossa Valley Cheese Company a family run business?

Started as a mother daughter partnership, my mum has since retired and I’ve continued growing the business in to what you see today.

What does being an artisan cheese maker/producer mean to you? 

The foundation of the business is built on keeping cultures alive in our regions. We have the opportunity to bring our farming heroes to the table through creating beautifully handmade product from our surrounding lands. It’s a privilege to showcase our farmers.

Do you only produce cheese from cows milk?

We make over 25 different products with Barossa cows milk and goat milk which we source from just outside of Murray Bridge.

We are lucky enough to be able to source single farm milk, which enables us to create cheese from the highest quality ingredients that we can.

How many cheeses are in your range?

More than 25.

What cheeses are you known for (or are your specialty)?

We have been producing our range of soft cheeses for the past 15 years. The installation of a maturation cellar, has seen new lines of matured cheeses enter our range. They are a beautiful accompaniment to our existing offerings.

Do you have a favourite cheese in your range?

That would be like asking who is your favourite child! I love them all at different stages and on different days depending on how I feel and if they are behaving 😊

With your cheeses being made in a traditional manner which you’ve refined, what does this mean for the consumer?

We are all about keeping cultures alive. Our milk is sourced every morning, directly from our farmer, brought back to our Angaston facilities and made into small batch artisan cheese, matured for the right amount of time and then sent to our stockists all over Australia.

You offer beautiful cheese stacks, each different, as wedding cake alternatives. How did you decide which cheeses to include in these?

Every special occasion is so unique. We really enjoying meeting with couples to be, talking them through our cheese and tasting them through our range. We try to tick all the “taste” boxes by including soft creamy cheese, a tasty cheddar and a blue variety. Due to tastes and wishes of each couple, these stacks change, event to event. We have some standard celebration stacks on our website created by our Cheese Experience Architects, created to fuel inspiration.

Are some of the cheeses in the cheese cakes made by you? Where are the other cheeses sourced from?

We really love collaborating with other local producers. Our most popular package is one that uses cheese from other local South Australian cheese producers, Alexandrina Cheese Company and La Vera. This is our Forever Blissful package, including Vintage Cheddar, Adel Blue and topped with Barossa Camemberts.

What accompaniments do you suggest to be served with the cheese cake?

We offer local condiments to serve once your cheese stack has been cut. Our favourites are Maggie Beer Quince Paste, Barossa Bark or dried fruits from Gully Gardens or Trevallie Orchards, both here in Angaston.

Are bridal couples able to order these online – and do you ship these all over Australia?

Not yet….!! But all enquiries welcome.

Your gift boxes also sound delicious. Are the products included in these all from South Australia?

We always shop local. From local pates, pastes, crackers to giftware – the range in our Cheesecellar is really a creation of a one stop, cheese stop. We have recently discovered a Bacon Jam that is just divine over our cooked Halloumi, we have locally made ceramic cheese plates and we offer tasting plates with cheese paired with gin, cider, beer, wine or tea!

Do you ship your gift boxes all over Australia?

In the pipeline!! Will be up and running for Christmas!!

If bridal couples wanted to order a selection of cheeses from you to create a cheese table, what would you suggest?

When creating a cheese platter we recommend selecting your cheese… think about their look, taste and texture. You want a good variety of soft, hard, blue and fresh…. The more the merrier. Then pair each cheese with a condiment: dried fruit, nuts, pickled spread, fruit pastes and most importantly – good crackers or fresh bread. A knife per cheese is always good to limit cross contamination of flavours.

Overall, keep your choices simple, let the cheese be the hero and always serve cheese at room temperature for maximum flavor.

Do you see yourselves as part of the thriving Barossa Valley artisan food producer community and how do you work closely with them?

We love the diversity of the Barossa region and being a leader in the food industry. There is so much more to the Barossa than its amazing wine.

What is the best thing for you about having created a family oriented artisan cheese business?

I have really achieved what I set out to do. Created a premium product from quality ingredients to sustain the dairy industry in the Barossa.

Thank you Victoria for sharing your story. A day spent sampling cheeses or creating a special cheese wedding cake, is our idea of heaven! Doing this in the Barossa Valley is even more special! To find out more about the Barossa Valley Cheese Company visit the website.

All images from the Barossa Valley Cheese Company.

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