WHO IS MAFFRA CHEESE CO.?
In today’s world of super markets and mega stores, handmade cheese is a rare luxury. And handmade cheddar, even more so. That’s why we adore Maffra Cheese Co. Ferial Zekiman is a pharmaceutical chemist, dairy farmer and qualified cheese maker. She owns and runs Maffra Cheese Co. and has utilised her background in chemistry to focus primarily on hand crafting a range of excellent cheddar.
Maffra Cheese Co. are intimately involved with every aspect of their cheesemaking, guaranteeing the highest quality products for their customers. Their factory is modelled on the early Australian cheddar plants and is one of only a few of its kind. Here cheeses are hand crafted the old way, using little mechanisation.
Every step in the cheese making process is a labour of love, and you can taste it in the cheese. From a deep understanding of the seasonality of milk to hand salting in traditional open vats. From pressing the curd using hydraulics to carefully wrapping individual cheeses for maturing. The team at Maffra Cheese Co. is across it all. And they work under the gaze of their herd of happy Holstein-Friesian cows grazing just metres away.
THE SCIENCE OF CHEESEMAKING
Thanks to Ferial’s knowledge and expertise, Maffra Cheese Co. has a deep understanding of the science of farming and the way it impacts the craft of cheese making. They know the importance of indigenous rye grasses and clovers, and the effect they have on flavour through the maturation process. They also understand the difference between the milks of specific cattle breeds, which will each have distinct fat and protein profiles for unique flavours.
Ferial uses this intimate knowledge of microbiology and chemistry to develop a range of cheeses unique to Australia and the Gippsland region. Thanks to this passion and expertise, Ferial has also created one of Australia’s most internationally recognised cheeses, Maffra’s Cloth Aged Cheddar.
Their award-winning cheddar is made the traditional way. During the cheese making process, cultures and rennet are added to the milk. Working together they separate the milk into solids (curds) and liquids (whey). The curds are then scooped out of the vat and placed into lined hoops. These are pressed overnight on a hydraulic press to remove even more moisture.
The cheeses are then ‘cheddared’ to remove as much of the whey as possible, and leave you with the crumbly, layered texture we know and love. “All Maffra Cheese Co’s semi-hard cheeses undergo this cheddaring process, to ensure you get the best cheese eating experience.
WHAT TO EXPECT
- Artisan cow’s milk cheeses, made from Holstein-Friesian cows’ milk
- Multi award-winning cheddar
- Lush dairy farm and on-site cheese factory
- A passionate and scientific approach to hand crafting cheese
- A true paddock-to-plate, value-added agribusiness
ABOUT MAFFRA AND THE GIPPSLAND REGION
Maffra was settled in the 1860s and its beautiful tree-lined main street dates from the Victorian era. Situated 220 km east of Melbourne, in the centre of the Gippsland’s rich agricultural, pastoral and dairying region, the town is home to over 5,000 people. Along with dairying, in the late 1800s, Maffra was well known for sugar beet farming. You can still visit the Sugar Beet Museum in town and learn more about the early agricultural practices of the Gippsland region.
Nowadays the Gippsland region is the heart of Victoria’s dairying industry, and a huge producer for Australian generally. In fact, there are over 1,300 dairy farms in the area which are home to over 330,000 cows that produce nearly 2 billion litres of milk. That’s equal to nearly a quarter (21%) of the national production.