Red tape nearly stopped Eketahuna's world cheese win

LAURA RICHARDS
Last updated 12:05 09/12/2013
Biddy Fraser-Davies, owner Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese, Eketahuna.
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ

A WAY WITH CHEESE: Biddy Fraser-Davies, owner Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese, Eketahuna.

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A traditional farmhouse cheese from an artisan producer near Eketahuna has won a silver medal at the World Cheese Awards in Britain.

Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheeses' Biddy Fraser-Davies said the 2.3kg wheel of cheese almost did not make it to the competition due to Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) red tape.

"The official from MPI said I could not send the cheese because I did not have an export licence," she said. "Then they had a change of heart after reading the regulations."

A proviso was that the cheese was to be tasted only by the judges in the competition and any leftovers had to be destroyed.

"Very dangerous stuff is cheese," she said with a laugh. "Cows are very much a mobile bio-hazard because they have their milk storage unit near their waste elimination vent."

She also had to sign a form in front of a JP stating her cows were healthy and she was not sending anything dangerous.

The big cheese was sent off and in late November was awarded a silver award for a class for members of the British Specialist Cheese Makers Association.

On her farm she and her husband Colin, make cheese from the milk provided by four jersey cows, Holly, Patsy, Dizzy and Isobel, milked in a one-bale shed.

The silver medal cheese was made from Holly and Dizzy's milk.

On December 3, she received an email from one of the competition's judges, Sian Oliver-Gay, a member of the Cheese Makers' Association, saying "there were certainly some really good cheeses there, so to get a silver medal was no mean feat."

Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese is sold to three Wellington restaurants: Logan Brown, The White House and Shed 5 and at two shops: Ontrays Food Emporium, Wellington, and C'est Cheese in Featherston.

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