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It’s cheesy … goats’ time to party

A range of The Drunken Nanny cheeses. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
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The goats and the Goodman family at The Drunken Nanny in Martinborough have more than one reason to celebrate this week.

The goat cheese maker was named the Puhoi Valley Champion of Champions Boutique Cheese producer and Sabato Champion Farmhouse Cheese producer at the New Zealand Champion of Cheese Awards on Wednesday afternoon.

Amanda Goodman said she was “totally surprised” by the news.

“There’s so much doom, gloom and uncertainty at the moment that this was a very nice bit of news.”

She said it was amazing to be recognised as goats milk producers and it was great for the Wairarapa region.

“It places us against different milks like cow and buffalo. We are thrilled as a goat producer to be recognised.

“We are all trying to be more sustainable with regards to the environment. The impact of goats and sheep is much less than that of a dairy cow.”

The stars of the show.

Fresh goat cheeses are made on the family’s farm just outside Martinborough.

They’ve hand-selected, bred and raised the herd of dairy goats whose milk goes into making the cheeses.

All milking is done on site and the cheese is made daily in their purpose-built cheese room alongside the milking stand.

After a dry summer and owing to restrictions around covid-19, the Goodman’s had dried off their goats and wouldn’t start making new cheeses until the end of July or early August when the goats kid again.

“Things are starting to look really positive in the industry and in people being interested in boutique New Zealand products,” Goodman said. “It’s exciting times.”

She said it was good the categories had been changed, which meant it was easier for small, boutique producers like them to get recognition.

There were also benefits to being boutique producers, and each cheese was unique owing to the growing conditions for the goats and the careful oversight during the cheese making process.

“It’s very much a handcrafted product and that makes it a little bit more special.”

She said they would celebrate by giving the goats an extra feed and having a chat to them in the paddocks.

“They’ve done all the hard work,” she said with a laugh.

The winners were announced on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon.

New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association chairman Neil Willman said the awards were a true reflection of the diversity of the New Zealand cheesemaking industry.

“It’s also pleasing to see the cheese sales growth through supermarkets during lockdown. However, some smaller producers have had their sales severely reduced.

“As lockdown eases I urge all New Zealanders to show them support and buy New Zealand cheese.”

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