Waimata Cheese Company in Gisborne is an artisan cheese producer specialising in blue and soft cheese made from cows’ milk. They are proud to have their cheeses approved by the New Zealand Vegetarian Society for using a vegetable based rennet rather than calf rennet.
The milk for the cheese production comes from the Waimata dairy herd, also owned by Carol and Richard Thorpe. It’s a family business and their sons are now involved with the daily running of the cheese business.
Success for their soft cheeses has come not only in demand – success in itself, but also in the form of a long line of awards dating back to 1996 for both their traditional cheeses, and their distinctively unique Taepo and Manuka bries. Each Manuka brie is indiviudually coated and wrapped by hand in a coat of manuka leaf ash which has been pounded to a fine powder, giving a velvety, spicy rind nicely balanced by the creamy brie inside.
Market demand for their cheese sees the Thorpes looking towards plant expansion plans and export.