Unique milk churns out award for Wokalup dairy
A French-style cheese made in Wokalup has won top honours at an event celebrating the State’s best food producers.
Halls Family Dairy, run by Suzanne and Phillip Hall and their son Tavis, has won the Buy West Eat Best award for Producer of the Year for its brand of washed-rind cheese, the Halls Suzette.
The family won the award, selected by chefs from restaurants around the State, at the West Australian Good Food Guide Awards in Perth last week.
“It was like the Oscars,” Mrs Hall said.
“It was such a great honour.”
The Pont L'Eveque style cheese is made using milk from the Halls’ small herd of pure-bred French Normande cows.
Award-winning fromageur Robert St Duke and his team at Harvey Cheese use this extra creamy milk and traditional French cheesemaking techniques to create the Halls Suzette.
“He is the man with the golden hands,” Mr Hall said.
Mr St Duke said it was great to see local producers being recognised at such a high level.
“It is great that this artisanal cheese is getting the recognition it deserves,” Mr St Duke said.
The award was presented by WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan, who praised the family as examples of creative thinking and industry diversification.
“The Harvey region has a reputation for its dairy industry and it is great to see a family-run business crowned Buy West Eat Best Producer of the Year,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“Faced with challenges of dairy deregulation, they invested in Normande cattle to allow them to become premium cheesemakers.
“They excel not only in producing cheese but in delighting chefs with their stellar service.”
The family supply the cheese to more than 30 restaurants in WA and at five locations in Melbourne.
“It’s quite warming to have those chefs come up to us and tell us it was well deserved,” Mr Hall said.
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