AUSTRALIA’S premium fine food event, the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards (RMFFA) presented a record 49 trophies across 16 categories at the annual presentation dinner last Thursday.
Conducted annually by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), the RMFFA recognises and celebrates the country’s most talented fine food producers.Victorian producers excelled at this year’s RMFFA, claiming 30 of the esteemed trophies – and Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese, took home the Champion Blue Cheese (major trophy/dairy) for its Bellingham Blue, in addition to the Champion Cheese major trophy/Sheep, Goat and Buffalo, for the Riverine Blue, which is made with buffalo milk.
These major trophies are awarded to the ‘best of the best,’ and followed on from Berrys Creek medal success at the 2015 Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards (Spring) which saw them win a gold medals for the Bellingham Blue and Riverine Blue, along with silver medals for the Tarwin Blue and Rowefords Blue.
Master cheese maker Barry Charlton, who with his partner, Cheryl Hulls, moved their operation from Poowong to Fish Creek earlier this year, said that they have been very, very pleased with the continued successes at the RMFFA of their blue cheeses, such as the Oak Blue and Tarwin Blue, but were particularly thrilled to have been awarded the Champion Cheese for the Riverine Blue the first time they had entered it into this prestigious award event.
The Riverine Blue had certainly had prior success elsewhere, taking home every championship award in its class in other major Australian shows since last November, including Champion Sheep Goat Buffalo milk product at the Royal Sydney Cheese and Dairy Show 2015 and Grand Champion at the Royal Queensland Show.
“We are very thrilled, but of course can’t expect to always win,” said Barry, who added that what they do hope to do is to continue to focus on high quality products, while maintaining consistency.
“We’ve faced a lot of challenges but have overcome them,” Barry said.
“Just having four seasons in one day is a challenge, but the high quality of the milk makes it all worthwhile,” he added.
Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese source their milk from four different places and Barry personally picks it up – from Hutchinsons at Berrys Creek, goat milk from Caprilac (of Yarragon) at Keysborough, buffalo milk from Brian Jans of ‘Sunrise Plains’ at Giffard West, and from Pangrazzis of Hoddle/Fish Creek.
RASV CEO Mark O’Sullivan said the judging panel were impressed with the calibre of entries received for this year’s Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards.
“On behalf of RASV, I’d like to congratulate all producers who were awarded medals in this year’s competition. The quality and number of entries received for the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards Spring Program continues to grow and this year was no exception,” Mr O’Sullivan said.