The Christmas issue

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

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 28th December, 2016 for your chance to win a share of $50,000!

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Top 35 recipes of 2016

2016 was all about slow-roasting, fresh pasta and comfort food. These are the recipes you clicked on most this year, counting back to number one.

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.

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.

Best travel destinations in 2017

We're thinking big for travelling in 2017 - and so should you. Will we see you sunrise at Java's 9th-century Borobudur Buddhist temple, across the table at Reykjavik's newest restaurants or swimming side-by-side with humpback whales off Western Australia's coast?

Christmas vegetarian recipes

The versatility of vegetarian dishes means they can be served alongside meat and seafood, or enjoyed simply as they are. With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve put together some of our favourite vegetarian recipes to appease both herbivores and carnivores alike.

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.

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.

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.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
On the Pass with Abla Amad
09.12.2016
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
27.11.2016
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
The GT x STILY
Christmas Boutique is now open

The smallgoods, homewares, art and more from the pages of GT are now all under one roof, ready to take their place under the tree.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Hot 100 2015 - Food

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

The producers: Two Rivers Green Tea

A leading local tea exporter now offers his leaves to the do...

The producers: Colony honey

A selection of regional monofloral honeys sourced direct fro...

Liquid gold

We find ourselves inexorably drawn to salt caramel in a jar....

The producers: Atssu Divers

Hand-dived abalone, turban shell and sea urchin.

Making a scene

Entertainer Julia Zemiro notes there’s little difference bet...

Game of Thrones food

Pat Nourse caught up with George RR Martin to talk about one...

Deutscher’s Turkey Farm

When it comes to talking turkey, the best birds have lived t...

Sandor Ellix Katz Q&A

Food fermentation 'revivalist' and guru Sandor Ellix Katz di...

The producers: Alexandrina Jersey milk

Meet the producers of the creme de la creme of Australian fu...

On the pass

Looking back over the 20 years she's been in business, Phill...

Gamze smokehouse

Bringing local flavour to artisan-made bacon.

Gourmet Traveller Gourmet Fast app

Now, here's a mighty handful: GT's Gourmet Fast recipes are ...

Food emoji we wish existed

What? More than 200 new pictograms in the latest Emoji set, ...

What is jumbuck?

The jumbuck has leapt straight from the pages of Banjo Pater...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×