I'm definitely obsessed. It's my favourite dairy product. It's so versatile, being enjoyed in so many ways – with crackers and platters, on sandwiches and toast, a la Mexican in quesadillas and tacos, a la French and Swiss in fondues and sauces, a la Greek in salad, a la Italiano in lasagne and on pizza, and a la sweet in cheesecake.
It's worldly (over 2,000 varieties across the globe) and, however you like it, you're sure to find plenty in Centennial Park at this festival on 16 June, from 10am-5pm, that will entice your taste buds and take them to new levels. There's lots of cheese tasting to be had with over 40 stalls selling their best produce, along with beer, wine and condiments. The Stinking Bishops will take toasties to the next level with rich cheese and Wagyu beef, Cupitt Fromagerie bring their handcrafted cheeses and wines, Frencheese will be there with their gooey Raclette fondue cheese, and Stix with cheesecake and waffles on a stick, yes please.
Many other cheese companies/makers will be on hand too with everything from brie and camembert to parmesan and goat's cheese. A Cheese Talk with Coolamon Cheese will showcase their world of cheese with a broad range of global styles adapted to include unique Australian flavours.
Be sure to jump in and try cheeses you haven't tried before. They might not look or smell great but taste can be a whole different story. Perhaps an imported blue vein or truffle cheese will be your next 'love affair'. These were never something I thought I would like, however, I did a Cheese Tasting Workshop some time ago and was surprised at how good they tasted and they became clear favourites.
In addition to cheese, you'll also find Sister Crepes, KissOfire with their chilli liqueur, Pork Ewe Deli with cured meats and gourmet pate, food trucks Urban Pasta with their authentic sauces and Dirty Bird with chicken wings and burgers a la Southern-style.
Apart from the stalls, there are a number of workshops as well as dining experiences and a sweet competition. Celebrity cook Justine Schofield (former Masterchef contestant and host of Everyday Gourmet) is the festival's cheese ambassador hosting a few events. One is a Cooking with Cheese workshop; and the other is the Cheese Menu, an exclusive 3-course lunch she has designed with cheese infused into each dish. A wine expert will present alongside her to tell you how the dishes found their wine match and, with a soulful singer, it's the perfect atmosphere for the cheese connoisseur in you. Book your ticket today before it sells out.
Justine will also judge the Fancy Cheesecake competition (amateurs only, 16yrs & over). If you've got the flair it takes to win, then register here by 1 June. There's $500 worth of cash and prizes to be won.
Other workshops include Beer & Cheese matchings with White Rabbit Brewery; Cheese Making with Omnom Cheese that will have you whipping up pillows of burrata (Italian buffalo milk cheese) and bocconcini (egg-size Mozzarella balls) in no time; and Cheese and Lavosh (cracker bread) with major sponsor, Kurrajong Kitchen. You will need to register for each of the workshops you want to take part in as places are limited.
Kurrajong Kitchen is also hosting a VIPicnic tent where you can relax with a massage and your favourite cheese from a cheese trolley, along with their Lavosh. This VIP experience also allows priority entry to the festival and provides a glass of bubbly on arrival. Tickets are available here.
The Intimate Experience with Ben Hughes of the Australian Wine and Beer School will educate you in which wines taste best with different cheeses. This dining experience has four sessions available throughout the day, with limited tickets. You will need to pre-book.
Entertainment includes live jazz, blues, soul, rockabilly, 40's swing and modern hits from the likes of Cruisin' Deuces, Luke Zanc Trio, Gramophone Man and Maz Mazak, along with DJ Damien D-Flat spinning tunes.
Children are not left out with the Legendairy Kids Zone keeping them busy. They can enjoy milking cows, making butter, and getting creative with green arts and crafts.
Entry tickets to the festival are $30 per person (under 12's are free) and include access to stalls, the free workshops, live entertainment and exciting interactive attractions.
So bring your friends, share a cheese platter and have a Gouda time!