Like cheese? Get more from it with Milk.Made by Tasmanian cheesemaker Nick Haddow »
A book about cheese: how to choose it, serve it, eat it – and make it
By Janet Gatehouse
In our fast-paced world we take staple food items for granted and tend to accept the guaranteed average. The mundane weekly supermarket forage is easy, the massed-produced conveniently packaged but uninspiring. But the lack of individuality doesn’t feed the soul.
Milk.Made is an introduction or reminder of what good dairy food should be. It will inspire you to move away from stores that provide the consistently ordinary, to go in search of those who stock more, and make you fall in love with cheese all over again.
In writing Milk.Made, Nick Haddow combines his own story as a cheese maker with those of others. Nick has been involved with food and fresh produce all his life, and has been making cheese on Bruny Island since 2003. He also travelled the world to explore and expand his knowledge of cheese.
He calls this book simply 'A book about cheese', but it is much more. Nick’s enthusiasm for cheese shines from the introduction, and sets the tone sustained throughout the book, with a style that is conversational and casual, like a fireside chat.
Through its 287 pages, Nick talks you through the whys and wherefores of cheese, the various breeds of dairy animal and why they make different cheeses. It’s illustrated with a mix of beautiful photography: of the animals, the people, places and food.
Importantly, he also describes how – like wine – varied environments affect the final diary product, creating a terroir, an individuality missing in mass-manufactured cheeses.
Milk.Made takes you back to a traditional dairy industry, when a productive dairy meant a few cows or a couple of dozen sheep and hundreds of years of history. Nick describes traditional producers in distant and not-so-far parts of the world, capturing their stories, of what makes them work so hard to maintain traditional handmade and artisan products.
These stories are supported by thoughtful and personal pictures and you cannot help but be drawn into their passion. One such example is Fort Des Rousses, a cheese maturation facility rather than a dairy in the heart of Jura, France, where over 100,000 rounds of Comté cheese (each round made from the milk of over 30 Montbeiarde cows) are aged for over 6 months before being sold to the adoring consumers.
In addition there are 73 varied recipes from different cultures all containing or complimenting products from the dairy. At first the recipes look a little daunting. The ingredient lists are long, but mostly use stock store cupboard items, the methods are comprehensive and the final result successfully tasty!
There are tantalisingly quick Saturday lunches (only those with the strongest will can resist the melted cheesy goo of Welsh Rarebit) mingled with weekday meals and something a little different or a little more involved. Recipes for wine lovers include Tartiflette (p 170), Linguine with Mushrooms and Stinky Cheese (p174), Fromage Fort (p 236), Rye and Molasses Biscuits (p 274) and for kids of all ages, Whey Pops (p 144).
Fancy making your own butter, yoghurt or cheese? Set a day aside, and with a little pre-organisation (a resources list at the back of the book will point you in the right direction) Nick walks you step by step, taking you on a magically mysterious journey of cheese making and maturation, starting with butter and yoghurt, to simple fresh cheese, surface-ripened cheeses and ultimately semi-hard cheeses.
Imagine the joy of cutting into the white velvety rind of a cheese you made yourself and tasting the oozy pleasure within!
This book has many guises: a practical cookbook, lovely picture ‘quick pick up with a cuppa book’, and an evening-with-a-bottle story book. Milk.Made goes a long way to enlighten and enthuse the reader, conveying the love and passion of the farmers, producers and Nick himself.
There is no doubt that this book quietly educates too, not only on how to buy and store the cheeses to maintain optimum quality but encouraging you to search out dairy products from traditional artisan and farm-made producers. After toying with this book for a while you will likely be drawn to a farmers’ market to seek out and try a different cheese, something special and somehow from your subconscious you will know what has made it so uniquely beautiful.
Nick Haddow’s enthusiasm for cheese is infectious and Milk.Made is a deliciously inspirational volume that will encourage you to get back to natural dairy roots. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any cook who enjoys their food, especially dairy.
And for those who truly get the cheese bug, go on, have a go, make cheese!
MILK.MADE by Nick Haddow, edited by Meelee Soorkia and Lucy Heaver is published by Hardie Grant (Richmond, Victoria, Aug 2016; hc, 287 pp) and is distributed by Cooked.com. It is available where all good books are sold. It retails in Australia for RRP A$55.00
[Editor’s note: this book is one of our standouts of 2016 so far and we predict will be a global winner].
Janet Gatehouse grew up in a rural English village, daughter of a farming family. She is a keen home cook and competition baker, and is also a big supporter of local producers and making the most of seasonal produce.
Janet moved to Tasmania six years ago with her family and is now an active community member, in the process of developing her own agricultural enterprise involving sheep, goats and – potentially – cheeses.
- Bruny Island (TAS)
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