I used to help my Uncle milk the cows during my school holidays. One early morning in the milking shed as I applied the milking cups, a cow did a massive poo right on my head. Rather than move out of the way, 12-year-old me just stood there, poo pouring down my face and covering me head to toe. Needless to say, I’ve always loved cows. I painted a Friesian cow on the bonnet of my first car, complete with flowers and plants on the doors – was always getting pulled over by the cops. I’d also drive around wearing a white shirt with a print of a Friesian cow on it, until it literally rotted on me. I was a barefoot, messy hippy in pyjamas meditating on transcendental gastronomy. ‘Put it in my belly, especially if it’s smelly’ was my mantra and still is now as a middle- aged hippy. But mine is no mindless self indulgence; I want to be mindful, be grateful, be positive and be real. Like a lot of curd nerds, I recognised that real raw-milk cheese is my great magnificent indulgence, like watching colour TV for the first time after years of black and white. Indulgence by Kervella Cheese is a real raw-milk cheese. No two are ever the same, conceived by the predominant bacterial cultures in the milk on the day it’s collected from the neighbouring farm. The cheeses are always random, matured for 3-6 months with all the other Kervella cheeses in one room. Its stone-like, edible rind has various wild cultures, bacteria, moulds and yeasts learning to live and be mindful with one another. This bacterial legacy is evident in the texture and robust flavours of the cheese: from earthy and nutty to shroomy and fruity – descriptors much like my hippy teen mobile. Both are and were imperfectly perfect. I’m grateful that Gabrielle Kervella and Alan Cockman are determined to keep traditional transcendental cheesemaking alive in New Zealand. Turn on, tune in, taste cheese.
Calum Hodgson, The Curd Nerd