My lunch yesterday was not Vegan, I was breaking the journey down to Tauranga, and eating out Vegan is seldom a rewarding experience (except at Cosset, and even there it is mainly the baking rather than a hearty meal that I expect).
I stopped at Waharoa, at the Kaimai Cheese Factory shop and cafe (thinking to combine buying nice cheese with a pleasant lunch). I chose the “cheese-lovers’ platter” thinking that a cheese factory platter should be superb – a chance to display their products at their peak.
The cafe is in the front part of one of the factory buildings with viewing windows into the factory. The space is pleasant, spacious and airy. The platter was a series of disappointments. It was presented crowded onto a small board, Cheddar, Brie (or was it Camembert?), a washed rind and some blue, also on the board were slices of bread and a few crackers, and a little bowl with pickled onions and some marinated Feta, and another with chutney. Nice, but overcrowded.
The cheddar was a pleasant enough young cheese. The Brie or Camembert was so young and hard that I was not only unsure which cheese it was meant to resemble (when it grew up) but wondered if the cheddar was softer. It did get better, the washed rind had begun to develop some flavour (what a shame I did not come a few days later, and what a pity the cold of the fridge tried to mask what flavour was developing) and the blue was soft and sharp. The pickled onions were lovely, and the Feta fine… but overall what a disappointment! I almost did not stop to buy cheese for home, but remembered that I could ripen that and allow the flavour to develop before eating.
Someone, at least if anyone who is a professional in this business reads this, is sure to say: But they are only giving customers what most want. Kiwis on the whole like their cheeses immature! If that was the case why not offer a choice Cheese-lovers’ Platter (Fresh or Mature). Then everyone could be happy!
If your experience differs plase let me know, as I have had other meals here and enjoyed them, and the coffee is not at all bad usually. (I did not have coffee yesterday as I was meeting someone over the hill for coffee a bit later.)