A second generation Dutch cheesemaker has taken out two supreme titles in this year’s Cuisine Champions of Cheese Awards including the prestigious Cheesemaker of the Year.
Head cheesemaker of Kerikeri-based Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese, Jacob (Jake) Rosevear, won the NZ Cheese School Champion Cheesemaker of the Year Award. One of Jake’s cheeses – the Mahoe Very Old Edam – was also awarded the Champion Artisan Cheese title at the 2012 Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.
Jake (33) is part of a new generation of cheesemakers who have grown up in the family business and who now celebrate their own successes in the industry. He is the second youngest recipient of the Cheesemaker of the Year title. Last year’s winner, Miel Meyer was just 27 years old when judges awarded him with this supreme trophy.
Jake attributes his success to his parents Anna and Bob Rosevear and cheesemaker Tony van Stokkum who has been with Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese since its inception in 1986.
“Winning Cheesemaker of the Year is really testament to the incredible training ground I’ve had since I was a boy. My parents and Tony have taught me everything I know about producing excellent quality Dutch style cheese.
“It is a fantastic honour to be recognised by the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association,” says Jake. “It’s not something I dreamed would ever happen – it’s very humbling.”
A team of 28 judges selected Jake over many other cheesemakers in over 35 companies from around New Zealand.
Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese also took away the Cuisine Champion Artisan Award for its Very Old Edam. Cheese Master Judge Russell Smith was impressed by the calibre of the Dutch style cheese throughout the competition.
“It’s unusual for cheesemakers to age their Edam as most are only three to four months old,” says Russell. “The Mahoe Very Old Edam has obviously been matured well and expertly crafted to produce a superior result.
“This was a stand-out winner and a prime example of a beautifully crafted Dutch cheese,” adds Russell. “The intense fruit flavour and the lingering, clean aftertaste combine with the light crunchy crystals to create an absolute taste delight.”
Jake credits his champion cheese to the passion and expertise of the small team at Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese who have worked together for 25 years.
Founders Anna and Bob Rosevear built the cheesery on their 270 acre farm in Oromahoe on the outskirts of Kerikeri. Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese is truly a family affair. The Rosevear’s four sons have all had stints in the business, however the youngest of the brothers, Jake and Jessie, have taken over the role of head cheesemakers.
Jake and Jessie are passionate about exploring ways of improving their favourite cheeses.
Jessie often experiments with washed rind cheeses, including adding rennet he extracts from his own cultivated Cardoon plant. Cardoon, also called “the artichoke thistle”, is a plant native to the Mediterranean region. In the 2011 Cuisine Champions of Cheese Awards he won a gold medal for this style of cheese.
Jake prefers making Dutch style and blue cheeses. He is continuously improving on his namesake cheese “Jake’s Blue”, a cheese style he introduced to the business, which was awarded bronze in last year’s Awards. Jake is planning on entering his blue cheese again in the Cuisine Champions of Cheese Awards 2013.
Jake was only 10 years old when he first became involved in the business turning cheeses after school. A keen and talented surfer, Jake spent most of his late teens surfing and instructing in France before returning to New Zealand as a 20 year old. It was at this time an opportunity to join the cheesery came up that Jake couldn’t refuse.
“It was a case of being in the right place at the right time and I have never looked back,” says Jake. “Mum and Dad have created a great family business and I feel very privileged to be a part of it.”
Now in its ninth year, the 2012 Cuisine Champions of Cheese Awards celebrated 430 cheese entries from 36 different companies throughout New Zealand. Entries were judged across 19 different categories and judges awarded gold, silver and bronze medals before naming a champion for each category.
Winners were announced at an industry gala dinner on Tuesday February 28, 2012 at The Langham, Auckland.
For more information on Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese visit www.mahoecheese.co.nz.