Barry Charlton and partner Cheryl Hulls talked about going into gourmet cheese production for years and then finally took the plunge beginning their handcrafted cheese business, Berry’s Creek Cheese, in 2007.
The plunge has paid off with Berry’s Creek Cheese winning multiple national and international awards and most recently at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards. The artisan facility located in Poowong, West Gippsland is state of the art, and this year they were finalists in the Blue Cheese category with the Tarwin Blue, and a finalist in the Goat’s or Sheep’s Milk cheese category with the Berrys Creek Rowefords Blue.
Barry is the Chief cheesemaker, applying his more than 30 years of experience into hand making the cheeses and Cheryl is his able assistant. Barry’s cheesemaking careeer began in the Drouin Co-Operative Butter Factory in 1976, making the cloth rinded Vintage cheddar He later went on to become head cheesemaker at Jindi Cheese for 17 years, receiving major awards in the World Cheese Championships in the USA.
The cheese is made using milk sourced from Jersey cows living over the fence from the production room in Poowong. His cheeses are made with no preservatives and non-animal rennet is used in the production process.
The Berrys Creek range includes blue varieties such as Tarwin, Mossvale and Oak Blues, Pease a sweet Italian Style cheese and Monterey a mild soft textured style cheddar. Constantly trialling varieties Barry is also working on a range of hard cheeses. The couple produce up to 90kg of cheese a week and Barry said while running the business has been tiring it has been great to be handcrafting cheeses again. While there is a science involved in making cheese, the right temperatures and lists of procedures to follow, Barry approaches cheesemaking like a true artisan. He knows just the right time to move the cheese onto the next phase of development, creating the cheeses through instinct and knowledge that only experience can bring.“You know by the feel of it when it’s right. Everyone can make cheese but not everyone can make great cheese,” he said.
Barry and Cheryl live at Berrys Creek in South Gippsland, the inspiration for their brand and Barry’s goal is to continue to create unique and distinctive cheeses for the discerning palate.