Ah, cheese, cheese, glorious cheese. Is there seriously anything better than snuggling up by the fire with a hearty glass of red and a slice of delicious French cheese on a chilly Winter’s night?
Let us introduce you to L’Artisan Cheese, Junction’s July Artisan. With expertise coming from the heart of France, owner Matthieu Megard brings a wealth of knowledge in producing quality French cheeses in our very own Victorian region. Making a double appearance in Junction’s very particular cheese selection, L’Artisan Cheese is a stand out amongst many Australian cheese producers.
How long has L’Artisan Cheese been operating?
L’Artisan Cheese started operation in 2010.
How did L’Artisan Cheese get started? What was the inspiration?
After 2 years in Australia, I heard that the Timboon Farmhouse cheese factory had been shut down and the owner of the premises and famous cheese maker Herman Schulz was nice enough to let me start production there.
What did the founders do previous to starting Pondalowie?
I was a cheesemaker in France but ended up mostly working for our family company who specialised in cheese making equipment.
I couldn’t wait to go back to making cheese for my own company with the added challenge of working in a new and completely different environment.
It offers the perfect balance between agriculture, art & creativity and science.
Is there a specific product you are most fond of from your business?
It is hard to say which one of our products is my favourite as it changes according to seasons and moods. This said I can’t really go past our Mountain Man, which is inspired by the “Reblochon de Savoie” a cheese I grew up with. It is together mild, complex and so earthy. It always takes me back to my mountains.
What’s your number one tip for the ultimate cheese experience?
The ultimate cheese experience for me is to share it with the person who made it or with somebody who is passionate about it and to do it in a great atmosphere. I have always understood that taste comes from your brain first, and I always try to speak to the brain before the taste buds.
Where would you take a visitor for an essential country food experience?
For a country food experience I would take people to Birregurra. I would go to Brae restaurant as I have wanted to do that for ages or for a smaller budget enjoy a simple meal at Birregurra Farm Food and buy some local food in their Deli.
If you could visit any city for a day’s eating and drinking experience, where would it be and why?
In Australia, I would definitely choose Hobart as there are so many great things happening in Tasmania when it comes to food and drink. Again, I have never been there unfortunately. Cheese making is very time consuming!
What other local artisans or producers do you admire? Why?
I would first speak about Bundarra Berkshires as I saw them evolve over the years (we see them often at Farmer’s markets). They have their own pigs and started with selling meat. Now they have a range of beautiful Charcuterie with my favourite; Rilletes. I would love them to make Saucisson. Speaking about Saucisson, a really good one is made in Sydney by Jean-Marc from La Bastide.
In terms of wine, I would single out our friend Sahne from Basalt Wine near Port Fairy. His organic wine makes the most of the volcanic soil and has a rare minerality that I enjoy a lot.
If you had to choose your last meal, what would it be?
My last meal would be a Gratin Dauphinois. It embodies the beauty of simplicity. Just thinly sliced potatoes and creme Fraiche. I would have nice galette a la frangipane for dessert.