By Glynn Jones. Title photo credit: Stock Journal.
Robe, the much-loved fishing village on South Australia’s Limestone Coast, is renowned as an idyllic beach-side holiday destination and a source of gob-smacking Rock Lobster. What many don’t know, however, is that Robe is also gaining a reputation for award-winning milk and cheese.
Robe Dairy, which started production in 2014, has just earned two gold medals and a major trophy in the 2015 Australian Dairy Product Competition.
Held each year, the Dairy Industry Association of Australia (DIAA) Awards of Excellence Gala Dinner brings some 400 dairy industry professionals together to recognise those that are producing the country’s best dairy products.
With the dairy opening just over 12 months ago, Julie and David Hinchliffe – the owners and operators of Robe Dairy – didn’t have any expectations of winning awards. They knew what they were producing was special and they enjoyed the flavours of their silky full cream milk and creamy Labneh Cheese, but had not yet been judged by their industry peers.
“We knew our products were good and people have been loving them, but we wanted to see how they compared to other dairy products across the country,” said Julie.
The 120th awards attracted a record number of entries and Robe Dairy received a Gold Medal and highest score in their class for their delicious Jersey milk, but it was the Robe Dairy Labneh that produced the best results for the couple. The Labneh not only received a gold medal and the highest score in its class, but also took out the Savannah Bio Systems Perpetual Shield for the highest scoring non-cheddar cheese.
Robe Dairy’s Labneh is a traditional artisan cheese made from yoghurt. The organic garlic used is specifically sourced for its flavour, the extra virgin olive oil is made from olives sourced from local orchards and the rosemary is picked fresh from the Hinchliffe’s own garden on the same day they turn their yoghurt into delicious cheese.
This is an enormous accolade, in an industry that is dominated by large national companies, but what makes it even more significant is the couple’s journey to winning these awards.
Both Julie and David come from an environmental science background. They started out by experimenting with different techniques and flavours and then, with some encouragement from family and friends, Robe Dairy was born.
They started selling their milk to a very enthusiastic customer base in August 2014, their yoghurt in October and their Labneh just a few months ago.
Despite these successes Julie and David are committed to keeping Robe Dairy small and boutique, with a focus on provenance, flavour and quality.
And there is more cheese to come. Off the back of the awards their Labneh has received, Julie and David plan to release a series of handcrafted French-style chesses.
Robe Dairy is registered to use the State Brand.
The Adelaide Central Markets, where you can buy Robe Dairy products, is a Brand South Australia member.