Buffalo reveal themselves as an animal to be worshipped, not milked. These highly sensitive herds are challenging to farm and demand a solemn vow of devotion from their admirers. With roughly double the butterfat and double the protein, buffalo milk shines pristine white like an angel. It’s little surprise that Annie Wills and her husband Phil Armstrong have never had a marketing problem. Hidden away in the lush Whangaripo Valley with their herd of grass-fed buffalo, they don’t advertise – but sell everything they make. For a cheesemonger, this is both a blessing and a burden. There just ain’t enough buffalo milk to meet demand. Even priced up the wazoo, St Benedict will work its miracles and find apostles without blinking. It’s curious that New Zealand farmers mostly ignore this buffalo in the room. St Benedict is a soft-ripened cheese with an ashed bloomy rind and a bright white interior paste that becomes more translucent towards the rind as the cheese matures. Flavours are evocative of the richness of buffalo milk, delicate and lush, with a much lighter texture. One man’s buffalo cheese is another curd nerd’s religion. CALUM HODGSON – THE CURD NERD

Calum Hodgson is cheesemonger at Massimo’s nz_curd_nerd