An Adelaide Hills artisan cheese cellar door, which introduced an Australian-first raw milk blue cheese ‘King Saul’ to its many admirers, has blitzed its ‘whey’ to third place in the ‘Excellence in Food Tourism’ category at the prestigious 2014 Australian National Tourism Awards held in Adelaide on April 10, 2015.
Udder Delights was the state’s representative following its victory in the SA version of the awards late last year. Its bronze medal – gold was won by NSW’s Margan Restaurant and Winery and silver by Victoria’s the Green Olive – saw it eclipse many notable operations across the country.
In awarding bronze to Udder Delights, the judges praised its unique array of innovative food tourism initiatives offered by the Udder Delights Cheese Cellar operation in Hahndorf as the clincher.
These initiatives, including the Adelaide Hills Cheese & Wine Trail, the Easy Cheesy Home Cheesemaking Classes, the Udder Delights High Tea and decadent Cheese Fondue, were deemed by the judging panel to have brought fresh life into an already appealing tourism sector while helping to entrench Hahndorf’s historic main street as a mecca for sumptuous food and wine experiences.
The Udder Delights Cheese Cellar showcases the many handcrafted cheeses produced by the company’s cheese factory in Lobethal and offers tastings and sales, is a licensed cafe and providore and creates and supplies a spectacular range of mouth-watering cheese celebration cakes.
Company director and Cheese Cellar general manager Sheree Sullivan said a placing at the national award was a significant achievement for a company that started with just a couple of goats but enormous passion and belief a short 16 years ago.
“We were up against some seriously stiff competition so it’s humbling to come out in the top three in the country,” said Sheree, who runs the company with her cheese-making husband, Saul.
“But we’re also absolutely thrilled to have capped our state award with national recognition as it vindicates everything we’ve risked and believed in since establishing the Udder Delights Cheese Factory in 1999 and the Cheese Cellar in 2006.
“Our vision for the Cheese Cellar began in 2004 – we were driven by an unswerving vision of what we wanted to create and had to sell our house to create it! But we believed that if we could build the business we saw, then it would be embraced by cheese lovers and become a food tourism icon for South Australia.”
“And as the Australian Tourism Awards are viewed as the hallmark of excellence in tourism by both the industry and consumers, it’s an enormous honour to achieve bronze and the whole team will be on a high for quite a while. Then we’ll go back to the drawing board and say, ‘what shall we introduce into the business now?’”
The Udder Delights team have a culture of innovation, which was most recently illustrated by the introduction of its King Saul cheese which, as the nation’s first ‘Made in Australia’ raw cow milk blue cheese approved for public consumption, confounded the critics and created a significant slice of cheese history.
The Australian Tourism Awards recognise and promote excellence in tourism and in 2014 featured more than 200 finalists across 28 categories. The ‘Excellence in Tourism’ category was established in 2012 to acknowledge and reward distinction among organisations such as cooking schools, farmers markets, food cellar doors, food experiences and food trails and food touring companies that highlight and use regional produce.
Udder Delights was established in the Adelaide Hills town of Lobethal by Trevor Dunford and his late wife Estelle as a goat cheese factory in 1999. Under the expert guidance of their daughter Sheree and her husband Saul Sullivan, the Udder Delights Group has grown to become a renowned and respected company across Australia, boasting a portfolio that comprises the flagship regional Udder Delights goat and cow milk cheeses, Divine Dairy organic biodynamic cow’s milk offerings, its creamy’ French style artisan cheese brand, Cremeux Provincial Cheese, and now the King Saul King Raw Milk Blue Cheese. The Group also runs its Udder Delights Cheese Cellar outlet in Hahndorf.
For more information, visit www.udderdelights.com.au