A jolly gouda show

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Tv Guide - ERICA THOMP­SON

CHEESE guru Will Studd knew he feta be care­ful. The best-sell­ing au­thor and host of the pop­u­lar Cheese Slices TV se­ries had been in­vited to take part in an un­usual rit­ual in the English coun­try­side — cheese shoot­ing.

Rather than toss out tra­di­tional cheeses that have gone bad, the cheese mak­ers pump bul­lets into them.

Not just any bul­lets — the kind they use to take down ele­phants.

But things didn’t quite go to plan when the Mel­bourne-based cheese ex­pert de­cided to give it a try for his lat­est se­ries.

‘‘I was so anx­ious when I shot the cheese that I wouldn’t get a kick­back on my shoul­der,’’ Studd ex­plains.

‘‘I went, ‘No, no, I used to do this when I was at school, don’t worry’. But at school we didn’t have tele­scopic sights.

‘‘So when I put my eye to the tele­scopic sight (and pulled the trig­ger) it wasn’t my shoul­der that was hurt — it was the blood spurt­ing from my eye­brow.’’

Oc­cu­pa­tional in­juries aside, there isn’t much Studd wouldn’t do for cheese. A pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate of raw milk cheeses, which are banned in Aus­tralia, his mouth­wa­ter­ing tales about the world’s best cheeses are de­voured in more than 20 coun­tries.

‘‘Peo­ple say I’m ob­sessed, which is prob­a­bly cor­rect, but it’s very much about try­ing to ex­plain that con­nec­tion be­tween ar­ti­san and farm­stead tra­di­tional cheeses and why it’s im­por­tant to sup­port them for the fu­ture,’’ he says.

‘‘They rep­re­sent much more than just cheese. They rep­re­sent some­thing about the world we live in, try­ing to pre­serve those won­der­ful tra­di­tions be­fore they disap- pear, and en­cour­ag­ing the new ar­ti­san pro­duc­ers to keep go­ing.

‘‘With au­then­tic cheese, there’s a fun­da­men­tal link be­tween a re­gion, the an­i­mals that graze there, the farmer and the cheese maker and the plate.’’

Health reg­u­la­tions have made it tougher for many tra­di­tional cheese mak­ers to sur­vive, but Studd was thrilled to dis­cover emerg­ing mar­kets in new coun­tries.

‘‘We’ve got this fas­ci­nat­ing episode in Ja­pan,’’ he says.

‘‘Every­one goes ‘what did you go to Ja­pan for?’ Well, the Ja­panese are now pro­duc­ing some of their own spe­cialty cheeses and for my taste buds they were as good, if not bet­ter, than their Euro­pean coun­ter­parts.

‘‘I have to stress that there is very lit­tle of it, but it is there.

‘‘If you think about it ... they’ve per­fected the fastest trains in the world and when it comes to elec­tron­ics I know where I’d like my cam­era to be made, so why not the cheese?’’

THE other place Studd says has a sur­pris­ingly good se­lec­tion is Amer­ica. ‘‘They pro­duce more types of raw-milk blue cheese than France,’’ he says.

‘‘They do have that other funny cheese, the one that comes in a can. Whether it’s cheese or not I don’t know. But I have to say some of the tra­di­tional cheeses we had in the States were just so good.’’

The 10-part se­ries, filmed over 18 months, also takes in many stun­ning Euro­pean lo­ca­tions and cen­turiesold cheese mak­ing tra­di­tions.

‘‘In Sardinia we came across a cheese that’s been hung from the rafters in the fourth stom­ach of a goat,’’ Studd says.

‘‘We tried it and it re­ally wasn’t very nice, but I’ve been looking for this cheese all my life so I was de­lighted to find it.’’

Say fro­mage:

Will Studd puts holes in his cheese with a bul­let.

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