Having driven through Putaruru countless times, I can’t believe that I’ve never noticed Over the Moon Dairy Company on the main street- apparently it’s been there for more than seven years. Whether it’s because the trip South’s usual coffee stop is Tirau, 14 kilometres up the road, or that the entrance is very close to a roundabout, I’m not sure but with the huge black and white graphic of ‘hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon’ nursery rhyme on the side of the building it’s hard to miss!
With Hawkes Bay still a good 3 hours away and a takeaway coffee already purchased, it was tempting to just keep driving but as friends had said just turn up whenever, it seemed too good an opportunity not to stop. And so glad I did – greeted by two fabulously knowledgeable ladies who chatted to me about: the history of Over the Moon Dairy Company; the three cheese makers and two French students on a cheese making exchange; and of course the cheese, in between providing tastings and helping other customers select cheese and tasty accompaniments from the deli goods.
With a temperature controlled cheese room, I was delighted to get to taste a huge range of their cheeses from creamy feta, to goat cheese brie to Italian style hard cheese to tasty blue. Using four types of milk: cow, goat, sheep and buffalo there is a fantastic depth and variety of flavours. And their cheeses are vegetarian too. If you want to see the cheese makers in action, then you need to visit during the week - if you’re planning a special trip then ring ahead to confirm cheese making is in progress that day. Over The Moon Dairy Company
Purchases came complete with fabulous tasting notes and wine matches: Double Delight Brie - cow and goat milk blend; Buffalo & Cow Blue; and a Lemon and Mint Halloumi. The ladies even provided a recipe suggestion for the halloumi too. Cut the halloumi into finger sized sticks, add a sage leaf, a slice of pear (coconut ice peach substituted) and then wrap in bacon (or prosciutto) before securing with toothpicks. Cook in frypan over medium-hot heat, turning regularly until the bacon is crispy and the cheese slightly softened. Pop under the grill to finish it off. Serve with extra peach or pear slices. Delicious - and of course everyone wanted more!
One last thing caught my eye - The New Zealand Cheese School runs their home cheese making workshops throughout the year from Over The Moon Dairy Co. For information The New Zealand Cheese School
Open seven days, might just need to pop in on my way back to Auckland next weekend. The cheese making workshops are very tempting too.