Pure Artisan Cheese is just your typical story of a young, doe-eyed lad from Dorset who decided to look for some temporary, casual work during a uni break one summer, found an entry level job at nearby Denhay Farms, stayed there for two decades instead of returning to school because he realised he had a particular talent for the taste, texture and subtleties of cheese, worked his way up to the position of head cheesemaker, where he won too many awards and accolades to count, and then through some series of random events that still isn't entirely clear to us, ended up with his own cheese factory on Tamborine Mountain.
The young lad in question is Mike Reeve, now a grizzled veteran of the cheese trade and an all-around good bloke, who's equally entertaining whether he's explaining the basics of cheese production to complete laymen like us, or discussing the finer points of British and Australian culture over a few rounds of beer at the brewery next door. And we're not exaggerating when we say 'laymen', as we must admit that we had virtually no idea of how cheese was actually made, other than having something to do with milk, curds and whey (not that knew what curds and whey were either).
What we did know was that the assortment of cheeses we tried on our first visit here were incredible, and that was before hearing Mike's story or learning about his various awards, the highlights of which include Best Made Traditional Cheddar at the World Cheese Awards in 2009, and more recently after his arrival in Australia, a silver medal for his special Millsys Cheddar at the Royal Sydney Dairy Show in 2015. In addition to several distinctive cheddars (make sure to try the Cloth Bound Cheddar too), we're quite fond of Red Leicester, Pure Blue and creamy Black Ash Brie. Even if you're not lucky enough to get a personal tour of the facilities like we did, you can still view the full production process though the floor to ceiling windows that make up one of the factory's walls. The Pure Artisan Cheese factory is a must-visit on any visit to Tamborine Mountain.