There Will Be Some Cheesy Grins in Marlborough this Weekend

Handmade goat cheese producers, Cranky Goat Ltd are excited to be bringing the first ever South Island Cheese Festival to Marlborough over Waitangi weekend.

The festival is a celebration of Kiwi made cheese from all over the country, with tastings, workshops and live music for people to enjoy amongst the vines of the Clos Henri vineyard.

Restaurant & Café chatted with event organiser, Hannah Lamb about the festival, how it came about and what cheesy delights await attendees.

What made you decide to create a South Island Cheese Festival?

Feast Marlborough are the masterminds behind Summer Feast which is a series of events created by local food and beverage businesses here in Marlborough during February and March, this sparked the beginning of the South Island Cheese Festival. I have wanted to create a South Island festival for years as there’s never been one on this island before!

Having the event in Marlborough seems like a match made in culinary heaven, was it a deliberate choice to connect the event to such a popular Kiwi wine region?

Marlborough is renowned for its incredible wine produced by so many fantastic wineries, but amongst all these wineries we have some amazing food producers as well. We are incredibly lucky to have a great group of cheesemakers in the top of the south and it made sense to host everyone here in one of the most picturesque vineyards - Clos Henri.

What does the weekend have in store for attendees?

Attendees will be treated to a great selection of artisan cheese companies, some delicious local produce that complements cheese, plus workshops so that you can learn all about cheese pairings and the history of New Zealand cheese.

There will be cold-pressed juice for the children, cold ciders and wines for the adults or coffee for those non-alcohol lovers. Our hope is people can come to the festival and create their own picnics to enjoy whilst listening to music on the lawn or within the vines.

Any particular cheesy highlights you think people should look out for?

Feast Merchants are an incredible food truck here in Marlborough and they are creating a heavily cheese focused menu for us all to enjoy!

What would you like Kiwis to know about NZ made cheese?

We would love to Kiwis to explore the many varieties of cheese we produce in this country, whether it be a different milk source such as buffalo or goat, as well as trying out the large varieties of flavour profiles. Cheese has changed drastically over the last 10 years and we love to see people trying new textures and flavours.

Do you have plans to make the festival an annual event?

I think it’s fair to say that this will definitely not be the last South Island Cheese Festival! We have had an enormous amount of support for this up and coming festival, as well as a lot of interest from more cheese companies about next year’s event. We are really looking forward to growing this festival to become an annual Marlborough event.

Anything else you’d like to add?

We have had a large number of scammers trying to sell tickets to the South Island Cheese Festival but this year it’s a family-friendly FREE event. Please be aware.

For more information check out the South Island Cheese Festival’s official Facebook page.