By Natasya Rallios Photos willowcreative
Before Sarah and John Archard bought the cheese-making facility BoatShed Cheese in Dromana last July, they envisioned a place where their customers could come in and be immersed in the cheese production process.
“We’ve always wanted to open our own cheesery on our dairy farm in Northern Victoria, but it was challenging as there were restrictions. BoatShed Cheese has given us the opportunity to sell our own cheese and ultimately retire to the Mornington Peninsula,” said Sarah.
The cheese-making facility is renowned for its handmade goat, cow and buffalo cheese. Since taking over the business the tight-knit family has doubled their cheese production.
“When we bought BoatShed Cheese, we wanted it to be a cellar door experience where we could serve our own cheese on a small menu. We bought it as a wholesaling business but have now expanded the warehouse into a wholesale and retail operation so that our customers can come in and observe how our cheese is being made,” said Sarah.
From the moment you walk into the new tasting space you instantly feel a sense of relaxation and connection to the beach. It is a cosy venue with tables well-spaced and a new viewing window to see the production of cheese as it happens.
“We were excited to receive approval from the council to build a commercial kitchen. We commissioned The Timber Shack to turn an old boat on a trailer into a table that seats twelve people. We often receive calls from groups of locals to reserve the boat table over the weekend,” said Sarah.
The staff is currently serving up cheese tasting platters, charcuterie boards and grilled haloumi skewers. They make their own terrine and parfait as well using ingredients that they grow in their own veggie patch.
“My husband John runs our dairy farm and I manage BoatShed, but we all work together. We have a close relationship with local farmers and sell our products at the farmers’ markets in the city every weekend as well,” said Sarah.
Head Cheesemaker Shaun Landman has been inviting his wholesale customers into the new tasting room for a product- tasting experience. Prior to the new renovation he took the products for tasting to wholesalers offsite.
“Before the new owners came along, we were primarily a wholesaling business and people would contact us to pick up their wholesale order. The new space has allowed us to invite our wholesale customers in to try the full range of our products and learn about how we make them. It’s been great to see friendly faces dine in and enjoy our local products,” said Shaun.
Sarah and John’s daughter Becky is also a foodie and is learning the ropes from Shaun. After working with the previous owners for a week during her university holiday break she discovered that cheese making was her passion.
“Becky is really passionate about the food industry and she’s learnt a lot since she first started here. We are a good team and I enjoy working with her. In the warehouse
I work on the aging of the products and Becky works on the making of the cheese,” said Shaun.
The new tasting space may have only been open for under a year, but it has already won the hearts of locals and Melburnians.
“We have been posting on social media to get the word out that we have a new tasting room. A lot of locals will pop in as well as people that are down from Melbourne for the weekend,” said Sarah.
In the winter months BoatShed Cheese will remain open six days a week. In time, customers will be able to pair their cheese board with a glass of wine.
Shaun has been at BoatShed Cheese for five years and has noticed a huge difference in the past year. He said that Sarah and John have invigorated the business and a fresh set of eyes is exactly what was needed.
“It’s been amazing to connect with more people and serve our products in house.”
A: 3/10 Thomson Terrace, Dromana
P: 0476 180 382