By Shelby Brooks

BERRYS Creek Gourmet Cheese has been honoured with seven awards for its Tarwin Blue cheese in the 2020 Australian Dairy Product Competition.

Run by the Dairy Industry Association of Australia (DIAA), some of the awards included Highest Scoring Blue Cheese, Most Outstanding Show Exhibit – Small Scale Producer and Overall Cheese Champion (Victoria).

Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese owner and cheesemaker Barry Charlton said the wins were “huge”.

The team at Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese celebrating the win.

“That way we still know we’re at the top of our game,” he said.

Based on a dairy farm in Fish Creek, Barry said COVID-19 shutdowns of the hospitality industry had been tough on the business.

“99 per cent of our cheese went to the food service industry,” he said.

“We sold to airlines and cruise ships as well.”

Barry said he had also been concerned for the business that supplied them buffalo milk for cheesemaking.

“If we stopped making, they’d go out of business. So, we stuck together as a team and made a few vats [of cheese] here and there,” he said.

He found Cheese Therapy, an online cheese store, which helped them stay afloat and be introduced to a new market.

“Now we can’t keep up,” Barry said.

Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese’s own online store has taken off and wholesalers are back on board.

“The local support from everyone, especially South Gippsland… it’s just been magnificent,” he said.