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The Royal Mail Hotel is changing
28.03.2017

Executive chef Robin Wickens has a stronger influence at the Royal Mail Hotel's upcoming restaurant, slated to open later this year.

Adventuring along America's north-west rivers
28.03.2017

The rivers of America's north-west running through Washington state and Oregon form the arteries of epic landscapes and bold discovery routes. Emma Sloley follows in the wake of Lewis and Clark.

The World's Best sommeliers are coming to Australia
28.03.2017

For the first time, the world's top international sommeliers will take part in the World's 50 Best Awards too.

Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017

Italian food in the restaurants of Australia blossomed into maturity in the new millennium, as the work of these trailblazers shows – dazzling and diverse, a successful balance between adaptation and tradition.

Steam ovens: a guide
27.03.2017

Billed as the faster, cleaner way to cook, are these on-trend ovens all they’re cracked up to be? We take a close look at their rising popularity, USP versus the traditional convection cooker and how each type rates in terms of form, function, and above all, flavour in this buyer’s guide.

Our chocolate issue is out now
27.03.2017

Our April issue is out now. In his editor's letter, Pat Nourse walks you through what to expect.

Roast pork with Nelly Robinson
27.03.2017

Nelly Robinson of Sydney's nel. restaurant talks us through his favourite roasting joints, tips for crisp roast potatoes and why, when it comes to pork, slow and steady always wins the race.

Water carafes
24.03.2017

More than mere vessels, these pieces bring a cool breeze of style from the fridge to the table.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

All Star Yum Cha

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

New cruises 2017

Cue the Champagne.

1980s recipes

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

Savoury tarts

Will your next baking project be a flaky puff pastry with pumpkin, goat's curd and thyme, or a classic bacon and Stilton tart? As autumn settles in, we're ticking these off one by one.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Raw milk cheese in Australia

Raw milk cheese

Raw milk cheese

New regulations will bring greater choice to the cheeseboards of Australians, writes Will Studd.

It's no coincidence that the world's most respected benchmark cheeses are made from raw milk. The reason is simple: flavour. They owe their unique authentic qualities to origin, or terroir: a combination of soil, climate, season, pasture, tradition, culture, and the skills and craft of the cheesemaker. Many of these cheeses have been prohibited in Australia, but in December last year Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) approved changes to regulations to allow the local production and sale of raw-milk cheese.

The right to produce cheese from raw milk is a controversial issue for cheesemakers. On one side of the debate are industrial producers, who make cheese from pasteurised milk and claim that the use of raw milk is a potential health risk. On the other side, artisan cheesemakers question why they should abandon traditional, scientifically recognised control methods.

The changes to the code are long overdue and mark a critical moment for the future of local artisan cheesemaking in Australia. In most European countries, cheese can be made from raw milk under strict regulations that ensure a similar level of public safety to that provided by cheese made from pasteurised milk. However, the opportunity to produce or sell raw-milk cheese in Australia is a highly contentious subject.

When Australian national food standards sought to prohibit all raw-milk cheese in 1998, I was horrified by the implications and organised a group of friends working with specialist cheese to lobby for change. European producers were worried the proposal would establish an international trade precedent. In the subsequent barrage of diplomatic protest, a special exemption was granted for Gruyère, Emmenthal and Sbrinz. Anticipating further challenges from the Italians, FSANZ made modifications to allow the sale of "imported" hard cheeses, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano, but our requests to review Australian regulations banning the local production of raw-milk cheese were rejected.

Ironically, the major catalyst for change was the seizure of a shipment of Roquefort that I imported in 2002. Roquefort is the oldest and most popular raw-milk cheese in France and, at the time, was sold all over the world without restrictions - except in Australia and New Zealand where it was banned. It falls into a category of cheese that carries a greater food safety risk than hard-cooked grating cheese because of its high moisture content. When FSANZ refused to allow this benchmark to be tested for equivalent safety standards, it became a personal unofficial test case of the Australian ban on raw-milk cheese. After two years of legal discussion, a court of appeal ruled that Roquefort violated the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code. The original order for its re-export or destruction by deep burial was upheld. So I arranged a faux funeral and the cheese was ceremoniously carried to the tip in the back of a hearse draped with the French flag and buried to the sounds of "Le Marseilles".

I was branded a "food terrorist" by one Australian industry magazine and the French weren't happy with the stunt either; Australia's embarrassing prohibition had established a dangerous trade precedent that could be repeated in larger markets, such as the US. After an 18-month review, in 2005 FSANZ finally published a lengthy report repealing the ban against Roquefort.

It meant that another special exemption was made to the code, and it became clear that any policy banning raw-milk cheese in Australia was open to challenge.

In 2004 I lodged an application with FSANZ to review the standards for the production and sale of raw-milk cheese. Since officially accepting the application, FSANZ announced only minor changes allowing the domestic production of hard-cooked curd cheese under strict production and ageing conditions. This outcome enabled visionary cheesemaker Nick Haddow to create Bruny Island C2, and the principles were subsequently adopted by Hindmarsh Valley Dairy (Emme), Udder Delights (King Saul blue) and Woodside Cheese Wrights (Greedy Goat).

The latest changes are far more significant and will mean many more new types of raw-milk cheese on the local market. The guidelines require stringent testing and control at every stage of the cheesemaking process, and an approved food safety plan to result in a cheese safe to eat. Ironically, these are all parameters FSANZ used to justify the sale of Roquefort a decade ago.

It has been a long wait, but the new standards will be a game-changer for cheese choice in Australia.

There's so much you can do with dairy. Check out our dairy recipes slideshow for 20 things to make with cream, cheese and milk.

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Latest news
Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017
Our chocolate issue is out now
27.03.2017
Honey Fingers, Melbourne's inner-city beekeepers
22.03.2017
Seven recipes that shaped 1980s fine dining
21.03.2017
What is aquafaba?
20.03.2017
Eight recipes from Flour and Stone
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