“One of the best ways to enjoy cheese is to have a good group of people around and not worry about food and focus on conversation. Cheese is ready for everyone.”
- Chris Vogel, Cheesemaker
Dellendale Creamery is a small cheesemaking factory with a long history in the dairy industry.
We love sharing cheese and are proud of our local products which continue the classics and bring new approaches to traditional cheesemaking methods.
Dellendale Creamery’s milk is sourced from our neighbour’s modern robotic dairy which allows the cows to self-select the time they are milked; some regularly visit the dairy up to 3 times in 24 hours to relieve the pressure in their udders. In a close association, the cows away from the main milking herd run and feed on Dellendale Farm right outside the factory.
History of Dellendale
Cheesemaker Chris Vogel grew up on this property. Chris’s Dad, John Vogel, was a Swiss immigrant of the 60’s with a dream to tackle the challenges of self-employment, breeding Simmental cows and milking cows seven days a week. Denmark still had a creamery back then and farmers left cream cans by their gate for pick-up.
In 1993, Chris Vogel purchased the dairy farm from his Dad and in time changed the property name to Dellendale Farm. A ‘dell’ is a small valley or dip in the land, and in the German language becomes ‘dellen’ as plural, describing the two dells on the farm which slope towards the Denmark River’s open valley dale, hence “Dellendale”.
Learning the art
Chris joined a cheese factory in Switzerland near Zurich as a labourer in 1996, as fears of deregulation in the dairy industry in WA and concerns for the viability of the family enterprise were high. This factory specialised in semi-firm, washed-rind cheeses which varied from the traditional Swiss cheese types, opening the mind and sparking a passion for cheesemaking in the young dairy farmer.
Chris went on to an apprenticeship, and then Bachelor degree in Dairy Science in Switzerland, working in 7 factories over a 10 year period to gain a broad experience of cheesemaking techniques.
He returned to the Dellendale Farm and started producing small batches of cheeses in 2010 as a weekend project, and Dellendale Creamery was born.
The Cheesemaker today
Chris enjoys the challenge and complexity of making consistently yummy cheeses in the face of seasonal changes to milk features, linked to the grass and feed of his neighbour’s cows.
He appreciates the diversity in how artisanal cheesemakers bring their own style and new ideas to the making of old-style cheeses. Chris has been experimenting with different bacterial cultures and moulds, which break down proteins and ripen cheese, and using Australian native herbs and spices as washes and within his semi-firm cheeses.
For him, a good cheese has straight flavours, which can be manipulated through the choice of cultures and their ability as the cheese matures to produce sweeter flavours and soft oozy gooeyness. But, he says, there’s no bad cheese and every person has different favourites.
Longer maturing washed-rind cheese wheels range from 3-20kg, blending and drawing flavours from the outside in. Chris traditionally turns and washes these with an infusion on a daily basis.
Adding native herbs and spices has produced new specialities which stretch tastes beyond standard manufactured products. Chris finds it interesting how little fragments inside the cheese achieve such a taste difference, and will expand the range of flavours available to people.
The creative process is all trial and error, but results, just like wine, take time to mature.