A Gippsland-based cheesemaker has won a gold medal in the country's premier competition, which acknowledges excellence and innovation in dairy products.
Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese Oak Blue claimed the prestigious Grand Champion Cheese title at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.
Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese owner Barry Charlton, Fish Creek, Vic, said it was amazing to also win the champion award for cheese made from goat, buffalo or sheep.
"To be a finalist is great, but to go down and see that we won champion on the non-bovine section with the Berrys Creek Riverine Blue was amazing," he said,
According to Mr Charlton, a dedicated work crew and quality milk were big factors in achieving a high-quality cheese.
"Our employees that work for us now that I've trained up as cheese makers as well as all of our staff producing the quality that we do keeps me and my wife Cheryl innovated," he said.
"They are just absolutely magnificent, and our staff should get the credit too as they made the cheese which won these awards."
The company has recently tasted international success, winning the supreme artisan prize at the 2023 International Cheese and Dairy Awards, held in Southampton, UK.
After 47 years in the cheese-making business, Mr Charlton said he still loved "doing what we're doing".
He also enjoyed seeing his staff get enjoyment in the workspace and that he himself continued to learn a lot along the way.
"While I had extensive experience in the sector, I actually never made blue cheese before when I begun the business," he said.
"I just did a lot of trials at home."
He hoped his journey in the sector inspired others who had bright futures in being an artisan cheese producer in Australia.
"I really believe there is great space to grow artisan cheese companies in Australia, but those willing to get involved need to do research, work out what cultures they want to use, and so forth."
"It really is a science"
Brisbane-based artisan gelato shop Milani Minus Eight Degrees was awarded the Grand Champion Dairy Product for its peanut caramel gelato.