Whether it’s young and mild or old and mouldy, Will studd, the host of TV show Cheese Slices, is never afraid to give any dairy delight a go. “I think you have to try everything once,” says the British-born Australian-based Master of cheese, who’s spent the last six years on a “global odyssey” tracking down the world’s most unusual varieties for his popular show. “We’ve gone to places that I never would have expected to find really great cheeses.”
In an itinerary which takes in destinations as diverse as Norway, Italy, Denmark, scotland, Wales, France and Germany, Studd uncovers unique cheeses and the fascinating people who dedicate their lives to making them. “It’s such a labour of love, it’s not something you do to make a lot of money,” he says.
Along the way studd has some surprising adventures. In Italy, there’s a traditional truffle hunt in piedmont and a visit to a Dickensian cheese maturing room in sicily; while a jaunt to fantastical Norway reveals both the best and worst cheese of the trip. “Gammelost was one of the most disgusting cheeses I’ve tried in my entire life,” he says of the pungent Norwegian cheese reputed to smell like old socks. however, the sweet, caramel-coloured ghetost was a revelation. “It’s a bit like fudge, but it’s a beautiful sweet goat’s cheese and lovely with coffee.”
Part travelogue and part foodie frolic, Cheese Slices also has another important role to play. “Nobody has ever mapped artisanal cheese,” he says. “At the risk of sounding boring, we are actually recording cheese history.”
This article first appeared in FOXTEL magazine, January 2010