We sell enjoyment
They surely do! And have for 23 years. Today, top New Zealand cheesemaker Whitestone produces 23 different cheeses and won 23 top New Zealand awards in 2010, making 23 a pretty lucky number all round.
Happily, it won"t cost you $23 for a platter. $5 will do. And you can watch the cheese makers free in a special visitors" gallery. Whitestone's got three cheese makers and they're so proud of their work that they put their names on the label of every piece of cheese they create; Made by James, Chris or Darren.
And by nature, of course. "We've just turned our environment into cheese," says Whitestone's big cheddar, Simon Berry. "It"s all about the quality of the milk and that's a product of our climate, our clean pastures and our free range cows." Whitestone started as "an alternative for a drought-stricken arable farmer. Now cheese rules our lives."
And life's a bries, even when they've got the blues. In fact, Windsor Blue is Whitestone's biggest hit, winning 10 trophies, 11 gold medals and big raps from the cast of the U.S. TV comedy, Scrubs.
Whitestone's founder Bob Berry once took a 4 kilo block of Windsor Blue with him on the plane to California, just for the Scrubs weekly cast party. Actress Sarah Chalk (Scrubs Dr Elliot Reid) is a big fan. So's Hugh Hefner, who ordered a selection of Whitestone's finest for his PlayBoy mansion.
But you needn't be a Bunny (or a Scrubber) to sample Whitestone's wonders. Just make a cheese line for the shop. All the staff are cheese affiniers. They know when the brie's ripe and which blue is best and how to get your tastebuds tingling. Bon scoffing!
WHITESTONE FACTORY SHOP: 3 Torridge Street, Oamaru
PHONE: 03 434 8098