Evansdale Cheese


The History of Evansdale Cheese

It started with a cow... Evansdale cheese was the first small cheese making factory in New Zealand. Beginning in 1977, with the Dennison family cow that produced more milk than the family could use. The excess milk was collected amongst friends in the Waitati community, this led to discussions, and soon the community was pooling its milk to produce cheese.
When the first factory was built on the Dennison property at Evansdale, the milk was from dairy cows milked for Cadbury’s. Gathering 150 litres of milk a day, the first cheese ‘Monterey Jack’ was produced. The Dennison family recall the first cheese to this day saying, “It was a terrible cheese!” but through some trial and experimentation, ‘Farmhouse Brie’ came about and is still very popular today. Farmhouse Brie is the base for several other cheeses, including the ‘Tania Smoked Brie’; with a special smoky flavor, and ‘Laurel’; a delicious soft brie.
Evansdale cheese has always had strong local support, and concentrated on producing local food and being a local business. Evansdale cheese to this day, continues to be a family owned and operated business, with a real support from the local community. Strong business growth has seen Evansdale cheese featured on television, and on the cover of Air New Zealand magazine.
In 1997 the factory moved to their present site at Hawkesbury Village, where they now use 1,500 litres of milk per day, produced locally and provided by Fonterra. The milk is delivered raw and pasteurised on site. Colin’s son, Pablo, is now the cheese maker and factory manager.

The history of Cheese and Dairy in New Zealand

Cheese is one of the world’s oldest foods. In New Zealand, the first dairy factories producing butter and cheese appeared in the latter part of the 19th century, at a time when the early settlers were using cattle and dairy cows to break in new bush land. The cheese produced was usually Cheddar, a hard cheese able to stand the rigors of a three-month journey by ship to the distant markets in Europe and keep in a world without refrigeration.

The end of the Small Cheese Factory

These small factories dotted the landscapes of the fertile plains, and, as a horse and cart could only go so far on a hot summer's day before the milk curdled, they were all only about 10km apart. These factories remained very much untouched until the coming of motor trucks in the 1920s, at which time the factories began to amalgamate, becoming bigger and bigger, and fewer and fewer.
One huge company, dominating the dairy industry and owning both milk producers and processing factories, now moves milk throughout New Zealand by tanker or by train, to be processed into a huge range of dairy products.

Evansdale Cheese – one of those last few Artisan Cheese Producers in New Zealand

Mass produced cheeses lack the charm, delicacy and appeal of a handmade cheese. Interest in cutting costs, shelf life, and uniformity of flavour are the very opposite of fine cheeses made in small quantities by artisan producers.
Artisan producers, such as Evansdale Cheese, who now make the best cheeses, do as little as possible to interfere with nature and are more interested in preserving the flavour of the elements within the milk, in order to produce a cheese of character.
Evansdale Cheese recognises that cheeses thrive on care and consideration, and artisan cheese makers look after and mature their cheeses so that you can enjoy them at their best.
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