Accidental cheese makers shine

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman

For a couple that started out with few intentions of becoming cheese makers, Ross and Dallas Lewis have taken to the craft with aplomb.

They are the chief cheese makers of the family-run Denmark Farmhouse, which this year picked up seven awards in the dairy section of the IGA Perth Royal Show.

The haul included a gold award for their Fresh Fromage with Garlic and Onion - a cheese that Dallas described as simple but a crowd pleaser.

Silver medals were won for their cheddar, feta, baked ricotta and gouda cheeses.

They normally enter their range of cheeses in the show, and Dallas said Ross was over the moon with their latest results.

"We first entered shows to see what the judges said about our cheese so we could have some idea where to improve - we didn't have any benchmarks," Dallas said.

"It's nice to get the recognition as well and it keeps Ross motivated."

Ross and Dallas, who run the Denmark Farmhouse and Duckett's Mill Winery with sons Matt and Ben, never intended to venture into of cheese when they moved to the Great Southern.

But once they started, they couldn't stop.

What started as a small experiment for their cellar door has now grown into a range of close to 50 cheeses, all produced on-site from local milk.

Dallas said the challenge now was to stop Ross from wanting to add more cheeses to their already enormous range.

Dairy Products Winners *

_Champion dairy product: _ King Island Dairy Discovery Ash Brie

_Champion cheese: _King Island Dairy Discovery Ash Brie

_Champion yoghurt: _ Mundella Foods Greek Natural Yoghurt

_Champion ice-cream: _Simmo's Mascarpone Cheese with Orange Zest

_Champion milk, unflavoured: _ Brownes Dairy Full Cream

_Champion milk, flavoured: _ Lion Dairy & Drinks (formerly National Foods) Dare Iced Coffee Double Espresso

_Champion chocolate: _ The Margaret River Chocolate Company Honey Truffle

_Champion other product: _King Island Dairy Pure Cream

_Gold - First _

_Yoghurt, various categories: _ Mundella Foods Greek Natural, King Island Dairy Vanilla Bean, Casa Dairy Products Gourmet Passionfruit

_Ice cream/gelati, various categories: _Simmo's Mascarpone Cheese with Orange Zest, Azzura Gelati Rich Vanilla Bean, Azzura Gelati Blossom Nougat and The Margaret River Chocolate Company Macadamia

_Milk chocolate: _The Margaret River Chocolate Company 200g Milk Chocolate Bar

_Milk chocolate novelty: _Fremantle Chocolate Babushka Dolls

_Milk (pasteurised modified, milkfat not more than 2 per cent): _Brownes Dairy Hilo

_Milk (pasteurised flavoured modified milk, milkfat not more than 2 per cent): _ Bannister Downs Dairy Company Mango Smoothie

_Fresh unripened cheese with no added flavour: _ Borrello Cheese Provoletta

_Non frozen dairy dessert: _King Island Dairy Creme Dessert Belgian Chocolate

_Soft cheese with added savoury flavour: _ Denmark Farmhouse Cheese Fresh Fromage with Garlic and Onion

_Products from other than cow's milk: _ Lion Kings Meadows South Cape Goat, Marinated, 350g

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