Hunter Valley Cheese Factory Co.
447 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin
02 4998 7744
It was only natural that when Pete Curtis and Rose Lambert moved to the Hunter Valley in 1995, they put their passion for handmade produce into practice – starting their own cheese factory.
Now running for over 22 years, Hunter Valley Cheese Factory was the couple’s first venture. With the help of their daughter Riley and a committed team of ‘cheese people’, they’ve grown immensely popular, leading the charge in regional produce and complementing the already vibrant winemakers and cellar doors of the area.
Located in the heart of the Pokolbin-Hunter Valley Wine Region and open to the public seven days a week, the factory includes tasting rooms, educational tutorials and talks featuring the benefits of buying artisan Australian cheese. Pete and Rose also retail cheese on-site, noting that there’s nothing better than watching customers fall in love with their products.
Pete custom-built the artisan factory, designed to eliminate lingering bacteria and facilitate the use of specific cultures and traditional cheesemaking techniques. There’s a ‘make’ and ‘maturation’ room, two cool rooms and best of all, viewing windows, resulting in a front-row seat to all the action.
The Head Cheesemaker, David Bower, is a loyal friend who started with Pete 17 years ago. He now leads the cheesemaking team, combining the strict standards necessary in any food production facility with the creative skill of an artisan cheesemaker.
Dave and his team source the highest quality milk from local premium dairy farms, truly capturing the regional authenticity of the Hunter Valley Cheese brand. Fresh milk is received weekly, tested for quality and hand-crafted into a beautiful range of European-style cheeses.
You’ll find everything from a Fromage Blanc to the award-winning Branxton and Grape Vine Ashed Brie at their Cheese Room. Pete, Rose and the staff are on hand to explain the production methods and complexities of each cheese, whilst you sample a cheese flight that covers both mild and strong flavours.
The Branxton isn’t the only winner in the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory’s arsenal: the Grape Vine Ash Brie and Hunter Gold Washed Rind both hold medals to their name, while the Riley’s Fromage Blanc, Hunter Valley Marinated Feta and Pokolbin Smear Ripened have sent waves through the cheese world.
When you’ve found your new favourite cheese, venture into the Regional Produce section to find an ever-changing array of gourmet produce. The team makes an exclusive 20-product-strong range of produce only available in-store, including Garlic and Basil Dipper and Hazelnut and Coriander Dukkah. There’s also a selection of great quality locally sourced products, including seasonal fruit pastes and deli supplies.
You’ll find people from all walks of life at the factory, including groups of international travellers, wedding and corporate conference visitors, and of course, individual travellers looking to learn about cheese. They all have one thing in common: a mutual respect for, and love of, cheese. With owners that are equally as passionate, Hunter Valley Cheese Factory is a great spot to indulge, learn and enjoy.