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Cathy and Kelvin Haigh with a slice of new cheese awards. Photo: BRYDIE PHOTOGRAPHY

Matatoki dairy delicacies awarded

Matatoki Cheese Barn sliced up a quattro of recent national awards for its organic halloumi, organic gouda and mountain cheese.
The barn, which has served cheese products for 25 years, won the top and gold award for its organic halloumi, a silver award for its organic Matatoki mountain cheese and a bronze award for its organic gouda at this year’s New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

Cathy Haigh, who co-owns the business with her husband Kelvin, told The Profile that achieving a top award was “really cool” because it put them back on the champion of champions cheeseboard.
“We enter the awards every year and this was the first year we have ever tried the organic halloumi, so that was good that it was our first time entering and first time getting an award,” she said.
“The last big award we won was 2018 and that was for the cumin seed gouda, that one got champion of champions.
“We haven’t really won anything major since then so we were pretty excited about [this year’s top award].”
Cathy said the cheese judging occurred in March and at the end of the month were notified about their gold, silver, and bronze awards. Their top award was announced on May 4 at an awards gala in Hamilton.
“We put a post on Facebook when we won the gold medal and we got lots of congratulations and when we put the post up on Facebook about the champion award we’ve had a huge reaction,” she said. “That’s the bit that’s really nice, everyone’s supporting us and likes our cheeses.”
Cathy said the barn also entered its camembert, mozzarella, blue cheese and cumin seed and garlic and chive flavoured goudas in the awards but weren’t deemed the wheel deal.
Cathy said Kelvin decided when he established the business 25 years ago to use organic products to make their cheeses. “I think he had seen people spraying fields and chemicals everywhere and thought that wasn’t really a nice thing and decided that organic was the way to go,” she said.
“Our main supplier is Raymond Ridings in Kerepēhi, he’s an organic milk supplier, and at the moment we’re about to switch to our winter milk supplier. This year it’s going to be [Jersey Girl Organics based in Matamata], they’re A2 jersey milk. “It does give us a point of difference from our competitors because there’s quite a few other cheese brands out there but there’s not that many that are certified organic.”