Who we are
Maffra Cheese Co. is located on a dairy farm near Maffra, in the heart of Gippsland’s lush dairying country. Owned and run by the diminutive dynamo, Ferial Zekiman, we enjoy a reputation for producing some of Australia’s best Cheddar.
The milk used to make Maffra Cheese is sourced only from the cows on our farm, mainly Holstein-Friesians, making us a ‘farmhouse’ cheese producer. No animal rennet is used in the manufacture of Maffra Cheeses, so it is suitable for vegetarians.
Maffra Cheeses are handmade typically using little mechanisation – modelled on the very early Australian cheddar plants, the production facility is one of only a few remaining. All our semi-hard cheeses undergo the cheddaring process during the make, to ensure the traditional waxy texture is formed. The curd is pressed by hydraulics (not vacuum), and then matured to its optimal age.
Handmade cheese is a rare commodity today, particularly when crafted in this way by an award-winning cheese maker.
At Maffra Cheese Co. our philosophy is simple. Great cheese is produced through a synthesis of exceptional farming practice and great cheese making technique. We consider ourselves to be farmers first and foremost, because without great milk there cannot be great cheese.
This means we understand the science of farming and the way it impacts our craft. We understand the importance of the indigenous rye grasses and clovers and the effect they have on the flavour of our cheeses through maturation.
We understand how specific cattle breeds provide milk with distinct fat and protein profiles, and how those fats and proteins break down during maturation to produce unique flavours.
Our farm is located in the County of Tanjil in East Gippsland, just outside the township of Maffra. Tanjil is a word taken from the local indigenous tribes, the Kurnai/Gunnai, and means ‘the place where the frost falls.’
Because we own and manage our own farm and process our own milk on site we are a true farmhouse operation. We control every aspect of the materials used to produce our cheeses, guaranteeing the highest quality products for our customers.
Factory Manager Vicki has been part of the Maffra family for over 17 years, and puts her heart into every batch that leaves our door. She ensures our time-honoured traditional cheese making techniques also meet stringent quality and food safety requirements.
Our Presentation and Packaging Manager goes by the name of Bee, and she certainly keeps busy. For eight years she’s ensured our cheeses are cut, sealed and packaged to perfection so our customers are happy. We take great pride in our cheeses and it shows with every order, thanks to Bee.
As the owner of Maffra Cheese Co., Ferial believes in leading by example. She starts her day at five am, when she opens up the factory and turns on the pasteuriser. She loves the technical challenge of cheese making and the process of creating new, innovative products. Ferial gains great satisfaction from producing award-winning cheeses that people love.
International Cheese Awards, Nantwich UK
Best Australian Cheese 2013
Best Australian Cheese 2014
Bronze Medal, 2014
World Cheese Awards, Birmingham UK
Gold Medal, 2012 & Silver Medals, 2013
Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Show
Gold Medals, 2015 & Silver Medals, 2014-2015
Australian Grand Dairy Awards
Grand Champion Cheese, 2012
Champion Cheese, 2002, 2012
Australian Specialty Cheesemakers’ Awards
Gold Medal, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
People’s Choice Award, 2004
Grand Champion Cheese, 2005