By Shelby Brooks

PROM Country Cheese will be the first cheese makers in Victoria to sell a cheese made with raw milk.

Burke and Bronwyn Brandon have been working on the special release for the last 12 months.

They are the first producers in Victoria to be given permission to create the cheese, which will be called Moyarra Reserve.

Raw milk cheese is cheese made without pasteurised milk, so there are many regulations and paperwork governing the process.

Traditionally made in Europe, raw milk cheese has a more diverse flavour and interesting characteristics that pasteurised milk cheese doesn’t have.

That’s just one of the many projects Prom Country Cheese has been undertaking during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In the early days of the pandemic, Burke and Bronwyn had to give away a lot of their cheeses after the hospitality industry shutdown.

“Restaurants, wineries and delis stopped orders immediately,” Burke said.

“We had nowhere to sell our products, so we had to give a lot of cheese away.”

Korumburra Secondary College teachers were some of the lucky people on the receiving end.

With a child of their own in Year 12 at the school, Burke and Bronwyn thought the teachers, who were dealing with a lot of stress taking their classes remotely, deserved some ripe soft cheeses.

Burke and Bronwyn then turned online to find a new market for their cheese.

The rise in the popularity of food boxes saw Prom Country Cheese collaborate with Cheese Therapy and Mould Collective to distribute their cheeses across Australia.

“Between the two of them we cleared out three months’ worth of stock in one go,” Burke said.

Prom Country Cheeses are featured in boxes with other local producers, as well as in packs on their own.

To keep up with the demand, Burke said they were buying more milk than usual from Wattlebank Park Farm.

Prom Country Cheese has a Father’s Day beer cheese in creation in collaboration with Loch Brewery.

The limited release cheese was previously debuted to great enthusiasm at the Loch Food and Wine Festival.

“What’s more Aussie than it being made with beer?” Burke asked.

Burke said the silver lining of COVID-19 was that these new opportunities saw the brand exposed to a broader audience across the country.

“European-style cheeses are really trendy now but because they’ve been more difficult to get them in the country, Australians are looking more in their own backyards,” he said.

“The one good thing with COVID is that it has encouraged people to discover the diversity of cheese made locally.