Archive for July 27th, 2014

Culinary delights in Kerikeri

July 27, 2014

A morning out to visit the Mahoe cheese Factory just 12kms south of Kerikeri at Oromahoe was on the cards. We headed out to try some of their cheeses, they make mainly Edam and Gouda style cheeses with other styles added throughout the seasons. The owners have a very interesting story as to how they started their factory. The following is an extract from a NZHerald article.

It is towards the end of 1991 and Bob and Anna Rosevear from Oromahoe are in a hotel in far east Russia having dinner with the First Secretary of the local Communist Party. A television is playing in the background and whatever was on is suddenly stopped and replaced with a performance of the ballet, Swan Lake.

They switched channels and Swan Lake is playing on that channel too, and another and another. It was relatively clear something wasn’t right even if they or, indeed, the Communist Party Secretary didn’t quite know what – but it didn’t take long to find out. President Mikhail Gorbachev had been deposed.

The Rosevears (and at various times including sons Tim, Jacob and Jesse) were consultants to Sovenz, a subsiairy of the then NZ Dairy Board, and in Russia to teach cheese-making mainly in Kharbarovsk in the north east of Russia just 30 kilometres from the Chinese border, and on Sahkalin Island, Russia’s largest island situated north of Japan. After the Gorbachev coup they were phoned by the NZ Dairy Board to ask if they were okay and were advised somewhat phlegmatically that this was Russian politics and in 24 hours it would all be over. It was, but the putsch had significant consequences for the country since it eventually lead to the dissolution of the USSR.

In fact Bob was in Russia again, in St Petersburg, when a subsequent putsch took place. He was watching a live performance of Swan Lake this time, when Boris Yeltzin was replaced by Vladimir Putin. So Mr Rosevear can rightly say he has played a personal part (certainly unwittingly and only in the way of serendipity) in two significant episodes of Russian political history.

Where did it all begin? Bob and Anna met at college in Wellington, met up at university again and married and moved north in 1974. They were orchardists before becoming dairy farmers in Oromahoe and had been buying cheese from a supplier in Whangarei who decided to quit the business. Anna had made cheese in the family kitchen and these two facts seemed to go together although, as they were about to discover, it’s a quantum leap from domestic to commercial cheese production. And it wasn’t an investment made lightly because interest rates in 1986 were hovering around 25 per cent. Still, they borrowed some money from a rural bank, bought up some of the cheese-making equipment and dived in.

As they say, the rest is history. We bought a piece of their 2014 award winning Champion Artisan Cheese Very Old Edam, a piece of aged blue as well as some Greek style yoghurt.20140725-130802-47282781.jpg

As you can see, we also made a a visit to Makana Confections to taste their chocolates, macadamia brittle and other delights. We just had to buy a little of their product to savour later!

The Kerikeri Farmers Market is held every Sunday morning and is a great market catering for all with stalls selling fruit & veg, artisan products such as cheeses, meats and breads, food to go, plants, coffee, wines, oils, speciality mushrooms and much more. Let’s just say that we have added considerably to the local economy.

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