Say Cheese.

I have been to cheese heaven! It was called Cheesefest 09. Even the name Cheesefest sets my heart-a-racing. Yes I'm a wee bit of a cheese put it mildly.

It all began a year ago when a friend arrived about 8.30pm with a great big bag of cheese."Put your hand in" said she grinning from ear to ear, I glady obliged, again, and again and cheese, creamy havarti, cheddar, camembert...holy cheese Batman, where did all this come from?" Cheesefest"

said she. How she could have neglected to tell me of this magnificent occasion is beyond me, but at that moment I vowed to go next year.

Cheesefest is an event run by the New Zealand Specialist Cheese Makers Association. This year over 400 of New Zealand's finest specialty cheeses were available to sample, apparently the largest collection of New Zealand cheeses ever assembled in one room.

On arrival everyone was offered a complimentary glass of wine and a plate, and off you go. As you may well imagine, it was a little overwhelming at first, but I just started somewhere and kept right on going sampling morsel after tasty morsel of our finest cheeses. Now, I love cheese, but I'm no connoisseur, so it was wonderful to be able to talk to the cheese makers, ask questions, and extend my knowledge a little.

Cheese makers seem a cheerful bunch on the whole, it may be all the cheese,(by the end of the 3 hours my friends and i were in a cheesy kind of euphoria!), but I actually think it's because they're doing what they love. Cheese making is hard and unpredictable work by all accounts, so how nice it must have been to see all of us contented, excited, appreciative cheese lovers walking around.

We are not all specialty cheese buyers, or lovers even, but we should all be grateful to the people who work so hard to produce interesting locally produced food. They enrich the food landscape for us all.

Health and happiness everybody,Lana x

Food in a Minute