Say cheese

Farm produce: A steer observes Rai Valley cheese makers, from left, Elizabeth Della Bosca,  Faye Leov and Liz Downey display their goods.
Farm produce: A steer observes Rai Valley cheese makers, from left, Elizabeth Della Bosca, Faye Leov and Liz Downey display their goods.

Having a house cow might be the ultimate expression of living the country life – but it can be hard to consume the litres of milk a single animal can produce each day.

Rai Valley women have found the answer. Turn it into cheese.

This week eight women completed a cheese-making course organised through the Rural Education Activities Programme (REAP).Their tutor was local resident Liz Downey who taught the group how to transform milk into mascarpone, cheddar, ricotta and camembert cheeses.

"We're upskilling ourselves," says Faye Leov. "It's also part of getting together as a group and enjoying each other's company – and using the facilities we have here in the hall."

Classes were held in the Carluke Domain hall kitchen.

"A lot of us are dairy farmers and now there's an urge to have one house cow ... but then you have too much milk," says Elizabeth Della Bosca.

Liz says with 30 litres of milk the group made a kilogram of cheddar, eight rounds of camembert, two kilograms of mascarpone and about 750 grams of ricotta. Steps include heating the milk, adding a culture, and cutting the curds.

"It's very therapeutic," Faye says.

And soon there will be more communal fun. When the cheeses have been suitably matured, a cheese and wine party is planned.

The Marlborough Express