By Lauren Ferrone
South Australian cheesemaker, Kris Lloyd’s, latest creation is “fresh, interesting, creamy… and has a little crunch”.
Kris’ goat cheese Anthill, which is encrusted with native Australian green ants, won best cheese at the World Cheese Awards in San Sebastian in Europe this week.
The uniquely strange creation was one of 3,021 cheeses from more than 30 countries judged by 266 international judges.
“Basically the green sacks on the abdomens of green ants have this almost sherbet, citrus-like flavour. Combine that with Adelaide Hills lemon myrtle and it’s a total taste bomb,” laughs Kris, who is manager and head cheesemaker at Woodside Cheese Wrights.
Awarded another six medals for a range of her unique cheeses, Kris – who was invited for the third consecutive time to also judge at the awards – was first introduced to green ants by Richard Gunner Fine Meats and acclaimed chef, Jock Zonfrillo.
“I started playing around with layering the green ants inside and outside a fresh seven day old goat cheese… and it was my inspiration behind taking it to the World Cheese Awards because I knew it was going to stand out,” Kris says.
London judge, Adrian Boswell, says Kris’ Anthill cheese is “like nothing I have ever taste; light citrus with perfect seasoning and a slight crunch from the delicate little green ants”.
“It just confirms when you do something innovative, we have so much opportunity here that it’s nice to show the rest of the world what we’re doing using native ingredients,” Kris says.
It’s not the first time she has experimented using unique ingredients in her cheesemaking.
Kris’ award-winning Monet is a selection of special herbs and edible organic flowers. She has also incorporated saltbush, outback bush tomato and pepper berry in other cheeses.
“One of the things I have built my business on is cheese with a point of difference. My whole business philosphy is to be innovative and entrepreneurial,” she adds.
After her win in San Sebastian, the BBC interviewed Kris asking why she chooses ingredients that are uniquely different.
“I guess the question brought me back to an important thing and that is what we have here in South Australia is a beautiful clean environment and the ability to source the most amazing raw ingredients,” she says.
“Our milk is world class, we have beautiful pastures for all of our animals to graze on and, as one of State’s food ambassadors, I’m able to talk about how fabulous our environment and produce is; not just milk, but everything from our seafood to fruit… and we’re so lucky to have that.”
As for Kris’ next cheese creation? It looks like paper bark and indigenous Lilly Pillies may make it onto our cheese boards…
Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our State by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.
Like this story? Nominate a story from your region.
Click here to nominate >>
These inspiring regional stories made possible by:
Major Media Partner