Blog Archive

June 10, 2014 - Why Section28?
May 14, 2014 - An Invitation to Make Art
February 8, 2017 - A taste of the Hills – s28 Sunrise and Sunset
December 9, 2015 - Celebrate with Priscilla this Christmas
October 13, 2015 - Preparing For Launch
July 7, 2014 - Introducing ‘Mont Priscilla’, our first Cheese
May 23, 2014 - A Visit to Coopérative de Grande Rivière

Why Section28?

Section28 Homestead

 

Currently, alongside “why Alpine cheeses” , this is the most commonly asked question of our small enterprise. Whilst certainly a valid question, it is usually followed with a guess along the lines of: “is it a reference to some piece of legislation?”.

Nothing nearly so clever, I am afraid. Rather, the name Section28 is a nod to our original family farm.

A Section is a historical legacy in South Australia, left by the surveying structure used in founding the colony. Under the founding scheme, land was divided up and sold to pay for the passage of selected settlers. The simplest method for the systematic survey of new areas was found to be dividing the land into Counties, then Hundreds (usually 100 square miles) and then into sections.

Thus, Section 28 in the Hundred of Roberts is 1,800 acres in the middle of South Australia’s ‘wheat and sheep’ country. There are not many dairies in the area and, with less than 400mm of annual rainfall and an altitude in the tens of metres rather than the 1,000s of metres, it is a long way removed from the Alpine pastures of Eastern France.

However, while growing up, we ran a few house cows (all named, as was the fashion, after a garden flower – Daisy, Dandelion, Rose…) for milk, cream and butter. And it was on the farm where, in what seems like an eternity ago, the seeds for this adventure were sown.

 

What other questions do you have?


An Invitation to Make Art

 

“If we want to make meaning, we need to make art”  – Brené Brown.

Eleven words that caused a pause in an otherwise busy day. The surprise was that this pause then formed the kernel of a thought that, in turn, developed into an idea, which has now grown into Section28 Farmstead Cheeses.

Making art in the form of Artisan Cheese is possibly not the result that you might expect from a moment of reflection, but this has been our inspiration to step out of our comfortable existence and try something new.

We are passionate about creating products of the highest possible quality. We are inspired by true Master Craftsmen – people that spend a lifetime perfecting their art, referencing time-honoured traditions but making their own improvements, and measuring their success in the joy on a customer’s face.

And so, we are setting out to emulate this tradition. Section28 Artisan Cheeses will produce hand-made Alpine Cheeses that capture the very essence of the Adelaide Hills. We are captivated by the mixture of science and technical skill, combined with pure artistry that has been the source of the world’s great cheeses. Our aim is to create unique Australian cheeses that reference their European heritage and cheesemaking traditions but have a style and flavour which is distinctly their own.

Over the past 18 months we have worked to put the foundations for this venture in place, and today we begin the process of building the business. Over the next few months we will build and equip the production facility, test our production processes, develop our signature cheeses, launch our brand and begin selling. It all seems quite simple when captured in a brief sentence, but marginally daunting if thought about for too long!

Wiser people than us have said that the joy is in the journey rather than the destination. With this in mind, we would like to invite you to join us as we embark upon this journey to make art. We promise it will be exhilarating.


A taste of the Hills – s28 Sunrise and Sunset

Terroir is a much used (and abused) term that originated in the French wine industry. It doesn’t have an exact English translation but it references the unique set of environmental factors that affect the taste of a product – the climate, the soil, the terrain and the way the country is farmed.

It is the reason why a Roma tomato grown on the Adelaide Plains will be different to one grown in Queensland, or why a Shiraz from the Barossa Valley will be different to one from the McLaren Vale.

We established Section28 Artisan Cheeses with an absolute commitment to excellence, and to producing alpine-style cheeses of the highest quality. A fundamental part of our ethos is the crafting of cheeses that reflect the terroir, or the taste, of the Adelaide Hills.

In capturing this taste of the Adelaide Hills, we are committed to creating unique, handcrafted cheeses that give you a sense of our environs, and a food experience that transports you to this glorious part of the world where we make our cheeses.

Another key founding aim of Section28 is a desire to be a part of the local community. In doing this, we deliberately located our factory close to the dairy that supplies our milk and have sought opportunities to collaborate with other talented local artisans that are working to capture the taste of the Adelaide Hills.

One of the awesome local artisans we have had the pleasure to work with over the past 18 months is Brendon and Kirsty Keys from BK Wines. We share their goal of making great art, admire their passionate approach to winemaking and love their wines.

With wine and cheese being natural bedfellows, early last year we discussed opportunities for working together. This week we are very excited to be able to launch the product of that collaboration!

We have crafted two limited release, semi-hard cheeses that are unique in their manufacture and affinage, and have been aged for 10 – 12 months in our cave. As a result, we think they are a unique reflection of the taste of the Adelaide Hills and demonstrate the benefits of local collaboration.

Our Section28 Sunrise is washed in Chardonnay lees from BK’s Petillant Naturel. Its golden rind captures the essence of a Hills sunrise and encases a cheese with a supple texture and complex flavour. It has a buttery and creamy taste, with floral notes and a certain frizzante and freshness from the lees.

Our Section28 Sunset is washed in lees from BK’s Gower Pinot Noir. The lees give the rind a deep purple colour and the resulting cheese has floral notes and an emerging roasted nut flavour that is complemented by its unique spicy undertone.

 

Sunrise + Sunset

 

 

We hope you enjoy these two seasonal cheeses and look forward to your feedback!

 


Celebrate with Priscilla this Christmas

Mont Priscilla

 

Section28 Artisan Cheeses would love you to join us in celebrating our first Christmas.

To help get you into the festive spirit, today we are launching our Celebrate with Priscilla promotion. Joining us are our great friends from Smelly Cheese who, via their online shop (SmellyCheese.com.au), are offering a great Australia-wide deal on Mont Priscilla for a limited time.

All of our fabulous customers will have a chance to win a half wheel of cheese by showing us how they celebrated with Mont Priscilla this festive season. Simply purchase a piece of Mont Priscilla and post a photo of it featuring on your Christmas table, with the hashtag #CelebrateWithPriscilla, and you will go into the draw.*

The winning post will be announced in January. Good luck and Merry Christmas!!

For all the details head to #CelebrateWithPriscilla

* Post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram


Preparing For Launch

In May of last year, we invited you to join us as we embarked on a journey to make art. For the past 16 months you have watched as we took inspiration from a simple quote from Brené Brown, turned our lives upside down and transformed a broad idea into a functioning business.

We have shared with you as we built and equipped the production facility, tested our production processes and developed our signature cheeses. And now, at the end of this week, we launch our brand and begin selling our cheese.

It has been humbling to have so many people wanting to help – from those who willingly and without hesitation have shared their knowledge and experience; to those who offered to drill/move/hammer something; to those who provided encouragement when our certainty waivered.

For the past 16 months, we have experienced fully how an artist feels as they show their work (or have someone taste their cheese) for the first time, nervously awaiting judgment. We have also lived the definition of exhilaration, with the absolute terror of stepping out, counter-balanced by the sheer joy of building a business that makes art.

As we step into this next phase of our journey, thank you for your support and we continue to be energised by the enthusiasm of everyone who embraces our dream.


Introducing ‘Mont Priscilla’, our first Cheese

Village of Morbier

 

This week we start the first experiments to scale up our production from very small test batches of 3 to 4 kilogram cheeses (using 35L of milk) to something closer to what we will release.

With that in mind, we thought it an opportune time to introduce you to the first of our cheeses. Consistent with the philosophy of Section28 we aim to make a style of cheese that is wholly Australian but references the Morbier cheese made in the Franche-Comté region of Eastern France.

When cut, Morbier is instantly recognisable. It never fails to impress with its thin bright orange rind that complements the creamy-straw yellow pâté, both starkly contrasted by the line of black ash through the middle. It is pure Artistry on a plate!

We adore how the Morbier’s initially confronting, yeasty smell (think musty, smelly socks) opens into a fresh and vibrant taste of the grass the cows have been eating, with just the smallest hint of citrus. However, the thing we love most about Morbier is its history.

It has been made for more than 200 years but as with many great culinary treasures (think Prosciutto di Parma, fiori di zucca or ricotta), it existed in the shadows of its grand cousin the Comté.

Initially, Morbier was made using leftovers from the production of Comté and only ever for consumption by the family of the cheesemaker.

At the end of a day’s production, if there were curds left over that weren’t sufficient to make a full wheel of Comté, the farmer would leave the curds in a barrel overnight and then ‘top it up’ the next day.

In order to prevent a rind from forming overnight (and to keep insects away), the farmer would sprinkle ash from burnt vine leaves on the fresh curd. This gave the cheese its distinctive ash line but also, historically, would result in a slightly different colour and texture between the top and the bottom.

In addition, since the farmer wasn’t able to press the cheese, they had to resort to washing the rind to aid in the Morbier’s maturation. As a result the cheese has a sticky, smelly thin orange rind but a much creamier, softer pâté.

And finally, why the name Mont Priscilla? It is inspired by the hill that overlooks Section28 – a local landmark that we climbed many times as kids for the views and, paraphrasing George Mallory,
“…because it was there…”.

 

Mont Priscilla

 

We are aiming to make a cheese that acknowledges the history of Morbier but which captures the terroir of the Adelaide Hills and the local milk – a daunting and ambitious task!

Watch for post updates and tweets as we progress our Mont Priscilla through its test phase and onto full production.

 


A Visit to Coopérative de Grande Rivière

 

Grande Rivière is situated in the Haut Jura (Upper Jura) in Eastern France. The Jura is the mountain range that separates France and Switzerland – just where Geneva pokes into the eastern part of France – and is filled with sub-alpine meadows, fresh water lakes and Monbéliard cows. All perfect for making Alpine cheese, and in particular all necessary for AOC designated Comté and Morbier cheeses.

The Coopérative de Grande Rivière is located in a tiny hamlet (Grandvaux aux Chauvins) just off one of the main country roads that cut across the mountains from Dijon to Geneva. There are 21 members (local dairy farmers) of the Coopérative and it specialises in the production of Comté and Morbier.

It is also unique in that it is one of the few coopératives that produce, age and sell the cheese, all on the same premises. Given the region and the cheeses produced, spending the day at a Fromagiere was always going to be a highlight for me.

 

Cooperative Grande Rivière

 

 

My visit was arranged through a friend of a friend’s friend and confirmed in my French, which is always a little dangerous!

However, a call to Monsieur Troutet confirmed that I was expected and his very informal instructions to “…come at 7am, ring the bell to the factory but don’t wait, just come on in” set the tone for the visit.

After staying overnight in a little hotel on the edge of the lake, I followed M.Troutet’s instructions, rang the bell and went in.

His day had started an hour and a half earlier so the cultured milk was already in two of the three 5,000L vats in his factory (he will do five full vats today).

The plan was to make a vat of Morbier (a bonus for me as they usually only make Morbier in the winter months) and the rest Comté. A smile was firmly planted on my face as we turned the milk, fresh from the morning’s milking, into 40 wheels of Comté (each weighing 40kgs) and 72 wheels of 7kg Morbier!!!

However, the highlight was going through the aging rooms with M.Troutet where the Coopérative stores more than 12,000 wheels of Comté. The opportunity to smell, taste and tap (the professional way to see if your Comté has undesirable holes in it) cheeses with a range of different ages was just brilliant!

Being able to watch how a genuine Artisan makes cheese that is exceptionally well regarded, using modern equipment and traditional techniques, was an absolute privilege and an outstanding learning opportunity. It was a humbling experience to be making two of my favourite cheeses (and in fact the cheeses that inspired the Section28 adventure), in the area that the cheeses were originally created and in a location where they have been made for generations.

A very big thank you to M.Troutet for his time (and his patience with my French), and to M.Picoulet for arranging the visit. If you are in the area or passing through enroute to Geneva, the Coopérative has a fantastic visitor’s centre alongside their shop and a visit is highly recommended!

 

Monsieur Troutet

 

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