Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 04/08/2005, pg. 11

SOFT cheese, hard cheese or fancy cheese — Swiss master cheesemaker Markus Bucher of Maleny Cheese has the winning recipe.

Mr Bucher is the secret ingredient in the success of Queensland’s newest cheesemaker Maleny Cheese, which scooped the awards table in their first year of entering the Dairy Industry Association annual awards yesterday.

Mr Bucher earned two gold and two silver medals and best cheese of the show for his wasabi cheddar, triple brie, Tuscan cheddar and lemon meringue-flavoured yoghurt.

The new player in the industry also won the coveted award for best new product for its Maleny tilsit, a European-style semi-hard cheese.

“I am surprised to win so many,” he said.

Mr Bucher decided on his career as a child growing up on a dairy farm in Switzerland when his job was to deliver milk to the local dairy and he was able to taste cheese off-cuts.

“That’s when I decided I wanted to be a cheesemaker,” he said.

After 30 years making cheese in his native Switzerland and in other parts of Australia, Mr Bucher teamed up with Maleny dairy farmers David and Heather Simpson in a special tourism-oriented cheesemaking venture.

Maleny Cheese, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, opened for business 15 months ago.

“I wanted people to be able to see how cheese is made and I realised that if I didn’t show them, no one else would,” Mr Bucher said.

Maleny Cheese is built as a demonstration cheese factory allowing visitors to see the cheesemakers at work.

At Maleny, the number of dairy farmers has fallen dramatically, from 289 when the local co-op was operating, to only 38 by July 2001.

Deregulation slashed prices and another 20 dairy farmers were forced from the industry, leaving only 18 dairy farmers.

For the Simpsons, the cheese making venture came just in time and rescued their dairy herd after their milk price fell to 27 a litre.

Copyright 2005 / Courier Mail