The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

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Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

Decadent chocolate dessert recipes for Christmas

13 of our most decadent chocolate recipes to indulge guests with this Christmas.

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.

Mango recipes

Nothing says summer like mangoes. Go beyond the criss-cross cuts - bake a mango-filled meringue loaf with lime mascarpone, start off the day with a sweet coconut quinoa pudding with sticky mango, or toss it through a spicy warm weather Thai salad.

Sydney's best dishes 2016

For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia asking two questions: What dishes are making waves right now? What flavours will take us into the next half-century? Sydney provided 16 answers.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

Summer feta recipes

Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.

Artisan cheesemaking in Vermont

Will Studd finds a thriving artisan cheesemaking scene in the US, hitherto not known for its cheese culture.

Little more than a decade ago the idea that the United States could make a cheese that would proudly sit alongside the great benchmarks of Europe would have seemed risible. American cheese had a serious image problem and was considered to be a symbol of industrial evil in specialist-cheese circles. But in recent years there has been an astonishing change in how the international community perceives US artisan cheese. The catalyst for this change was a cheese from Oregon's Rogue Creamery being named best blue cheese in the world in London in 2003. After some years of diplomatic negotiations, Randolph Hodgson of Neal's Yard Dairy was able to import this raw-milk cheese to the UK. It sold out in weeks.

Today, Vermont is home to about 70 artisan cheesemakers, more per capita than any other US state. One of the most inspiring is Jasper Hill in Vermont. Established in 2002 by brothers Andy and Mateo Kehler, it ticks all the boxes, producing interesting farmstead cheese with a genuine sense of place.

When I first visited, it was a small struggling family enterprise, but it had well-researched plans and an ambitious vision to make exceptional blue and surface-ripened cheese with raw milk collected from the farm's herd of 45 Ayrshire cows. To meet Food and Drug Administration regulations, these cheeses had to be aged for at least 60 days before sale. In a small maturation room built under the dairy I came across a rack of grey mouldy clothbound cheese maturing in a dark corner. To my surprise I was told they were an experiment made by the nearby Cabot cooperative, which is well known in the US for its industrial vacuum-sealed cheddar.

Ageing this kind of cheese seemed at odds with the ethos of a farmstead dairy, but this cheddar was clearly different. For a start the curd had been drained and formed in old-fashioned round hoops rather than blocks, and instead of using cooperative milk from dozens of properties, the cheese had been produced from the yield of a single farm. The young wheels had then been transported from Cabot dairy to Jasper Hill where they were larded and bound with cheesecloth to seal the surface and prevent it from drying out during ageing.

It was a novel idea, but it worked. Big time.

The unique caramel-sweet flavour of the moist, crumbly cheddar was a triumph. It combined the time-honoured skill of carefully maturing clothbound cheddar with modern cheesemaking techniques using selected starter-cultures. The Cabot Clothbound Cheddar I tried that day marked the beginning of an extraordinary partnership between an industrial cooperative and a small farmstead dairy that would ultimately redefine the cheesemaking reputation of the state of Vermont.

When I returned to the dairy a few months ago I was amazed to see the changes first-hand. Mateo acknowledged that the Cabot cooperative was "the donkey that does the heavy lifting" and their generous philosophy that "a rising tide lifts all ships" had been a catalyst for the development of a thriving local artisan cheese scene. Most significantly, the success of the clothbound cheddar had enabled the Kehler brothers to build one of the world's most impressive cheese maturation facilities and to realise their goal of providing tangible economic benefits to the agricultural community.

The brothers have plans to expand production to new purpose-built farm dairies using proven cheese recipes developed at The Vermont Food Venture Center in nearby Hardwick. At this shared facility, Jasper Hill currently produces its soft and creamy spruce-bound Jasper Hill Harbison from pasteurised local milk and a delicious new hard-cooked cheese called Alpha Tolman. These are both then transported to Jasper Hill's cellars as young cheeses to be expertly ripened before sale.

The production of raw-milk cheese still lies at the heart and soul of Jasper Hill's philosophy and an impending FDA review of the 60-day ageing rule is an ongoing concern, particularly for the dairy's wonderful spruce-bound seasonal cheese, Winnimere, and its flagship Bayley Hazen Blue. But despite these threats the Kehlers agree that their operation is past the fight-or-flight mode. "We're just getting started now," they told me, "and so many things are possible."

jasperhillfarm.com

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Jasper Hill with Will Studd in the video clip below.

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Explainer: wild scampi caviar
30.11.2016
GT's Christmas hamper
29.11.2016
David Thompson's favourite hot sauce
28.11.2016
Our 2016 Christmas issue is out now
28.11.2016
Bruce Pascoe’s crowd-funded Indigenous agriculture project
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