A wicked whey to end a wedding

Cheesemonger Robynne Harvey with a wedding cake made of New Zealand-made cheeses.

SAY CHEESE: Cheesemonger Robynne Harvey with a wedding cake made of New Zealand-made cheeses. MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ

Article by Meg Thompson—published in the Nelson Mail on 22 October 2012.

A popular Ruby Bay cheese-monger offers a wedding cake option for people who want something a little less traditional.

They are cheese cakes—made of stacks of whole cheeses.

CheeseShop co-owner Robynne Harvey has been ageing cheeses for the last 13 years and makes her cheese cakes for special occasions.

“The cheese cakes are my biggest passion.”

She said the cakes are most popular for people who want alternative wedding cakes.

“They’re people who aren’t cake people; they want to have glasses of wine and cheese.”

The cakes sell for between $350 and $500 and can weigh up to 10 kilograms.

“That’s a lot of cheese but if you’ve got a couple of hundred people at your wedding they seem to scoff it,” she said.

As one of the only cheesemongers in New Zealand, Harvey buys cheese from New Zealand cheesemakers and ages them until they are ripe.

She said there was an art to being a cheesemonger, something she taught herself and is still learning.

“If you get it wrong they go in the bin. All cheeses ripen at different rates and things can get over-ripe before you know it.”

Harvey has been selling her cheeses at the Nelson Market for the last 13 years and said she has only missed two weekends—once when she went to Australia and once recently due to bad weather.

She also sells them at the Motueka Market and online.

“They are very popular … I sell to people all over New Zealand,” she said.

Harvey has seen how New Zealand’s cheese tastes have changed over those 13 years.

“I think we’re getting more sophisticated all the time and people are almost starting to turn their noses up to the bigger blocks.”

The former secretary got into the cheese business because of her love of food which she gets to indulge in when she taste tests her cheeses.

The secret to her success: “Treat customers as you would want to be treated.”