CheesemakerMichael & Cressida McNamara, Owner/Cheese-makers
Pecora Dairy was established in 2011 by Michael and Cressida McNamara on the verdant pastures of Robertson, in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Our philosophy is to produce outstanding ewes’ milk cheeses in a sustainable way, that showcase the extraordinary qualities of our milk.
How did you get started in the industry?
Cressida and Michael have had a lifetime love of animals and fermented, slow-food products. In 2005 they purchased their first sheep and the rest, as they say, is history.
Tell us a bit about your cheeses.
We make 3 core cheeses that are designed to show-off the versatility and complexity of sheep milk. Styles where the cheese-makers influence compliments rather than over-powers. We have a) Bloomy White - a wrinkled rind geotrichum cheese, the centre is rich dense and slightly chalky while the rind is ivory and delicate covering a fudgey layer just beneath. b) Jamberoo Mountain Blue - a medium strength blue with a trademark yeasty, brioche and champignon, white petalled flowers on the nose, and Mezza - in the style of Ossau-Iraty, with a powdery geo-dominant natural rind, grassy nuttiness, truffled aroma within a semi-hard paste.
What is your favourite part about being a cheese maker?
The cleaning.. just joking. The animals are almost part of our family and we thoroughly enjoy working with them. Also, creating beautiful cheeses produced sustainably and ethically, and not least of all the connection with our customers especially at farmers' markets.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
Running a cheesery that is committed to using few chemicals means that maintaining the right balance of micro-flora in our environment requires us to be ever-vigilant. All of our cheeses are rinded in the open which requires (apart from correct temp and humidity) ongoing care, patience and attention.
What opportunities do you see for the future of the Australian specialty/artisan cheese industry?
ASCA has the opportunity to engage makers, retailers and consumers so that Australian cheeses are as well regarded, accessible and celebrated as, say, Australian wine is.
What does being part of ASCA mean to you?
Collegiality, engagement, advancement and lifting the bar.