A jolly gouda show
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.’’
Will Studd puts holes in his cheese with a bullet.