The mould in me
History’s seekers take their followers to uncomfortable places – they challenge how we see ourselves, how we make sense of the world.
The other day at the Fair Food warehouse, Isabelle Fouard, continued on her cheese odyssey introducing the Fair Food crew to Long Paddock Cheese’s Driftwood – a very funky Vacherin style-soft cheese.
Wrapped in a spruce bark-belt that is blackened with mould, this small round soft cheese that looks like it has spent several months in a damp cave is setting off my self-preservation alarm bells.
As Isabelle cuts the stained rind from the top of the cheese and I look into an off-white pool my body tells me very clearly DO NOT EAT!! DO NOT EAT!!
Lavosh crackers are passed around, I steel myself, take a leap of faith and dip into the oozy-goozy interior.
In a disconcerting moment my instinctive disgust is replaced by curiosity and a complex earthy cross of flavours and textures landing somewhere between a fondue and a brie.
Still unnerved but now intrigued I dip another cracker, unsure of how something that looks so wrong tastes so right?
Cheeses like Driftwood ask questions about who we are as eaters and maybe also what we are as people?
Science has begun to understand humans as a kind of mammal/microbial collab.
Our microbiome, made up of billions of bacteria, not only digests our food but shapes our moods, desires and even our appetite.
Studies on chocolate cravings have found that chocolate desiring people have different microbiomes than people who are chocolate indifferent.
Fermented foods like cheeses, pickled herring, kimchi and kefir often repulse but eat enough and mysteriously we find we can’t do without them.
It begs the question – where do we end and the cheese begins?
In their kitchen on Dja Dja Wurrung country in Castlemaine, Long Paddock’s cheesemakers Ivan and Julie Larcher, Alison Lansley, Ann-Marie Monda and Carla Meurs embrace the bacterial.
Eschewing the modern industrial double or triple cream approach of achieving a rich, smooth cheese – instead they partially skim their milk and rely on surface moulds to ripen and soften acidic curds, arriving at the same creamy destination but with a complex taste and texture all of its own.
These cheeses may challenge us but they also take us to places we never thought we would go.
Long Paddock Cheese are Fair Food’s cheesemakers of the month and over September we are delighted to bring you the following;
With the warm spring weather they are flying out the door and then back in the door to be refilled.
Refills come in at $10 a pop which is far cheaper than the big brand equivalents. Just imagine, your groceries and your fizz being delivered in one neat (returnable) package.
Fits Sodastream and all regular soda makers, except for the recently released Sodastream Quick Connect models.
Have a great week