Milawa Cheese Factory
17 Milawa-Bobinawarrah Road, Milawa, VIC
03 5727 3590
Since its inception in 1988 Milawa Cheese Company has become one of Australia's most recognised and prestigious specialty cheese producers, and proof of an Australian success story.
Finding a home in the historic butter factory in Milawa, just down the road from Brown Brother’s winery, the first cheese was made by cheesemaker, Richard Thomas, and was in the style of a Gorgonzola Dolce. This cheese has gone on to become the iconic Milawa Blue.
David and Annie wanted from the very start to have an onsite tasting room akin to the traditional cellar doors of the renowned North East Victorian wineries. This allowed visitors to try the developing range of cheeses as well as help David who took over the cheesemaking role in 1990, and Annie who was the face of cellar door in the early days, to really engage with their consumers. It has led to the expansion of the range to encompass roughly 20 different cheeses, covering 5 varieties in 2 different milks.
Stephen Russell took over the head cheesemaker’s role in 1995 and has continued to ensure the highest quality of cheese is made at Milawa. Recent awards at the World Cheese Awards for Milawa Blue, Milawa Tomme and Mt Buffalo Blue are a testament to Milawa Cheese Company’s continued commitment to excellence in cheesemaking.
David, not content to rest on his laurels, continued to develop the Factory site, creating Milawa Cheese Factory Bakery, specialising in traditional artisan sourdough breads which perfectly accompany the cheese in flavour and philosophy, as well as the onsite restaurant which is able to champion the qualities of both the cheese and the bread as well as the burgeoning gourmet produce of the area.
David and Annie’s legacy continues into the next generation with their daughter, Ceridwen Brown, who spent time at world renowned Neal’s Yard Dairy before returning to the business in 2009 to take on the mantle and responsibility of ensuring the enduring reputation and quality of Milawa Cheese Company.
“The whole thing about specialist cheese is flavour,” said Ceridwen. “You can get cheese that feeds you, but to develop maximum flavour, you have to have consistency, you have to make it by hand, and make it with care. It makes labour costs extraordinarily high but it’s a niche we want to be in.”
Ceridwen recommends coupling a slice of the Fig and Hazelnut bread with the Milawa Blue cheese, a mild, creamy and incredibly soft blue which has a well balanced, buttery flavour with rich, sweet notes. She calls it a “stunner” combination, and it looks like the business is in good hands.