Andrea Gauland spent fifteen years refining her cheesemaking skills by reading lots, experimenting and learning from hits and misses, and most importantly, being absorbed in the love of cheese.
During this time it was only her family who got to enjoy the products of her innovation and hard work. Thankfully her family and friends and a bit of luck and courage on her part mean that now we can all enjoy the magic of the cheeses she makes.
Little Farm Goat Dairy is truly an artisan dream. They breed, nurture, and milk their goats, and then make the cheese, all on the farm near Oxford in Canterbury. What goats they are too! They are Toggenburgs, a very old breed of Swiss dairy goats with beautiful white faces and distinctive leg markings. In fact they are so beautiful they have frequently won awards at shows. Andrea also sources the rare and unique to New Zealand Rāwhiti breed from Te Hua Farm who focus on ensuring the best bloodlines and genetic diversity are maintained. The Rāwhiti goats have an interesting history. They are thought to have evolved from Old English goats which became feral and hence a pest. The Rare Breeds Society in the South Island acquired some from David Tuart in the Bay of Plenty and, because there was uncertainty about their origin, originally named them Tuart after him. From about 2005 they have been renamed ‘Rāwhiti’ (mistakenly thought to be the Maori equivalent of ‘David’).
For a small operation they make a wide variety of styles, including French chevre and camembert, Greek Feta and Labneh, Spanish Manchego, and the Welsh Caerphilly. They use vegetarian rennet, and all cheeses are made in handcrafted small batches.
On a side note, they quoted a great aphorism on their Facebook page ‘You can’t make everybody happy. You’re not cheese!’.