Over The Moon Dairy makes my favourite cheese in New Zealand. Based in the tiny town of Putaruru (pop: 3,777 in 2013) in South Waikato, the boutique cheesemakers churn out an amazing array of hard, soft and blue cheeses using cows and sheep milk, including a range using jersey cows milk.
Over The Moon makes (in my humble opinion) the best soft cheeses in New Zealand. From the delicately earthy camembert to the smoothest OMG triple brie to the absolutely decadent black truffle brie, everything is exceptional. It takes great restraint to not polish off a wedge of the black truffle Brie in one sitting. I also love their halloumi, which is deliciously stretchy and chewy. It’s no surprise they have won multiple prizes in the NZ Champion of Cheese awards every year.
I first came across Over The Moon cheese a couple of years ago at Howick Farmers Market. They have a passionate cheese distributor in Roland Moss, who patiently introduced me to the range, offered tastings and advised on how to store cheese. (I’d been doing it all wrong, the correct way to store cheese is to wrap the cheese block in wax paper, and store in a sealed plastic container). Over The Moon cheeses are also available via their online store and can also be found at Farro Fresh food markets across Auckland.
Convenience comes at a cost though, and while I don’t mind paying for great cheese, it’s worth to make the trip down to the Putaruru Deli to check out the full range and pick up some specials. Some of their range, like the creamy Jersey milk cheese under the ‘Runaway Spoon’ label are only found at the main store. The Putaruru branch also serves up coffee and cheery service.
Over The Moon Deli has opened a new branch in Cambridge which stocks Volare bread, a range of deli items and a mini Duck Island ice-cream parlour. Duck Island ice-cream is a Hamilton-based artisan gelato maker (made with a base of a 50:50 milk and cream) who excel at intriguing flavours. Flavours like white chocolate and miso, maple and smoked almond, banana chai, you get the idea.
There are always specials on offer, but note that they differ at the two branches. On the weekend we drove down, you can get 300g squares of OMG triple Brie for $18 on special at the Putaruru branch or a really special $10 for a short expiry batch at the Cambridge branch. Their Camembert was an excellent $5 for a 125g wheel at Putaruru.
And if you head down Putaruru way, be sure have a bite just up the road at The Wooden Farmer. They use OTM cheese in their dishes, and we had an excellent lunch there. My seafood chowder was smooth, with perfectly cooked scallops and fish. BL’s pasta was light, tossed with fresh pesto and had generous pieces of chorizo and prawns through it.
Over The Moon Dairy / Cheese Shop / Cheesemaking School
33 Tirau Street, Putaruru
Ph: 07-833 8238
Mon – Fri 9:30am – 5pm
Sat/Sun 10am – 4pm
Over The Moon Deli
70b Victoria Street, Cambridge
Ph: 07-827 5968
Mon – Fri 9:00am – 5:30pm
Sat/Sun 9:30am – 4pm
The Wooden Farmer
99 Tirau Street, Putaruru
Ph: 07-883 8874
Mon – Tue 9am – 3pm
Wed – Sun 9am – 11pm