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Saturday 5 August 2023

Say Cheese: Long Paddock Artisan Cheese in Castlemaine

Have you noticed the growing trend for boutique providores and artisans to move away from the big cities? 

Well, it’s a thing, and is no better exemplified than at The Mill in Victoria’s delightful rural hub of Castlemaine, a close but not insignificant neighbour of Bendigo, reports guest poster and GOTR regular Rod Eime

Wine lovers will know of the small but bountiful Heathcote wine region, featured on GOTR previously, which rejoices in a lush and verdant landscape. 

Winemakers and distillers are joined by coffee roasters, brewers, speciality butchers, chocolatiers and other crafts folk enjoying a synergistic existence in this thriving former industrial complex, the brainchild of local entrepreneur Phil McConachy.

The Mill, and Castlemaine generally, have attracted an unusually diverse population of European specialty producers, creating a thriving and creative epicurean precinct 

The Long Paddock Team (supplied)

One producer previously overlooked by this writer is Long Paddock Cheese, a small-batch producer using certified organic dairy products sourced from local farms. 

You will recall the recent kerfuffle over naming of European cheeses, well, LPC have sidestepped this debate by giving their products wholly Australian names like Silver Wattle, Driftwood and Ironbark while retaining the traditional recipes, free from industrial-scale compromises.

Ivan Larcher inspects his creations (Rod Eime)

French cheese guru Ivan Larcher and wife Julie were recruited by Alison Lansley, MD of LPC and The Cheese School, which also operates from the same premises. 

“All our cheese is hand-made in our small-scale and purpose-built fromagerie in Castlemaine sourced from strictly local organic products,” Alison tells us.

Whether you’re enjoying wine from the Heathcote region or not, LPC’s superb artisan cheeses are a perfect pairing for almost any wine you can think of. 

For example, Ironbark is a 12-month aged cooked-curd Alpine-style semi-hard cheese that would pair superbly with any cellared shiraz or cabernet sauvignon. 

With revived rail services from Melbourne to Bendigo, Castlemaine is an easy day trip any time of the year and a great opportunity to explore this wondrous locale and the many foodie delights on offer.

Getting there: V/Line Bendigo

Stay: Northern Arts Hotel (easy walk from train station and The Mill)

Eat: Breakfast at Johnny Baker. Lunch at either Das Kaffeehaus (at The Mill) for hearty Austrian fare or Origini on Barker St for authentic northern Italian cuisine. Dinner at The Cumberland Hotel.

Drink: At either Love Shack or Shed Shaker breweries (the latter in The Mill). Cocktails at Aperitivo in The Theatre Royal (next door to Love Shack)

More: Official Visitor Website || A Touch of Europe in Central Victoria

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