Blood, sweat and cheese
By UTE SCHULENBERG
IT'S taken months of research followed by more of building but now with the final inspection behind him, Josh Billing and the Dorrigo Cheese Factory are officially in production mode.
Originally from the plateau town, Mr Billing returned six months ago with a plan to start something locally after years living in cities.
"This is the most beautiful place I know," Mr Billing said.
"Much of my career so far has been in corporate sales and it was time for a change.
"It took a while to settle on this idea, but Dorrigo is traditionally a dairy area and my father still runs his dairy two hills from here.
"I'm passionate about cheese ? well, food generally, and I love the idea of making it with my own blood, sweat and tears."
Mr Billing has researched the market potential of cheese and believes there is a growing interest in culinary tourism.
Also cheese can be easily stored and transported making it ideal for sale both locally and further afield.
Stage one of Mr Billing's plan has seen the old dairy converted into a production and drying room complete with a huge vat for heating and cooling the milk and two cool rooms for the different stages of storage.
"The vat is standing where the old milk pump was and these cool rooms were where the cows were milked."
Mr Billing intends to start with faster maturing cheeses such as camembert, brie and fetta and see how things go.
"I collect my milk at body temperature from Dad's dairy. I want to be as delicate as possible with it ? that's important for the flavour and the creamy texture."
As luck would have it, the first batch of haloumi was ready for sampling when this journalist arrived ? lightly fried in olive oil with a squeeze of lemon, it was delicious.
For more information phone the Dorrigo Cheese Factory on 6657 5339.