The Cheese Factory
Cheese making is an ancient art originating in the Middle East around 5,000 years ago. Until fairly recently cheese was the only way to preserve the protein and cream in milk and was originally made only with sheep's and goats milk. As a preservation process it generally starts with acidification and dehydration of the milk.
Cheese making is a complex process and small variations in technique can result in marked changes in the finished product. The idea of watching the cheese being made is not a new concept. Our windows in our factory are there so café patrons could watch the cheese maker in action. High Valley usually makes the cheese on Monday and Tuesday if you wish to have a look. The rest of the week is made up with packing the products and keeping the plant clean and up to standard.
The 135m2 cheese plant is located on the western side of the courtyard and has been specifically designed to allow visitors to get a feel for the cheese making process. Two large windows that look into the make room and one each into two of the maturing rooms allow visitors to watch the milk being pasteurised, the cheeses draining and brining and the mould coats growing on the newly made cheeses.
The plant is designed to handle 1000lt of milk per batch. The milk is pasteurised and set in the one vat then cut and stirred by hand until the curd has reached the desired consistency. It is then "hooped" and pressed before being salted in a brine solution. There are three maturing rooms available all running at different temperatures which allow the cheeses to develop their mould coats and to gradually develop their full flavour profile.
Whilst the first cheese was produced in April, 2005, more cheeses are constantly being developed in the High Valley cheese plant. Currently we are making Fetta, Cheddar, Brie, Washed rind Brie along with our soft and creamy Stefan Blue and our firmer Colly blue. In the more distant future there is a chance to introduce some cream products such as Mascarpone and Crème Fraiche.
You can book a private wine and cheese tasting session with High Valley Wine & Cheese Co. In groups of between 10 and 50+, for a small fee you will not only get to taste some great handmade cheese along with our wines but you will also gain a great insight into the grape growing and cheese making processes.
For individuals or smaller groups we also offer free cheese tasting in our lovely Café - cheese room here in Mudgee.