Cheesery with a unique approach wins big at NZ Cheese Awards

A Hawke’s Bay cheesery has won big at the New Zealand Cheese Awards, taking home six awards for their perfectly crafted cheese.

Hōhepa Hawke’s Bay cheesery has become one of the top boutique manufacturers in the country with its own unique approach.

It was founded 65 years ago to provide intellectually disabled people with more opportunities, and now employs 180 people in the region.

“Everyone at Hōhepa has something to offer. We come together and live our vision of every life fully lived; it makes a difference every day,” General Manager Santiago de Marco says.

“We feel very privileged and proud to celebrate these cheese awards. We bring people together and celebrate diversity. It’s all about making a positive impact in the community and the world.”

The cheese has also impressed a world-renowned expert.

Juliet Harbutt says the cheese at Hōhepa is “some of the best I have tasted in the world because of the way they make it”.

It’s made through a biodynamic farming system, meaning it follows a more sustainable, holistic approach than traditional farming practices.

Harbutt says what the cows graze on is “so interesting”, adding that the cheese is “all made on-site”.

“You can taste the difference.”

Santiago says the secret to a perfect cheese is time.

“Some of the cheese being tasted is a pre-Covid cheese, made three years ago so the news couldn’t come at a better time.”