Hardworking cheesemakers are busy behind the scenes at the state-of-the-art operation at Upper Bench Estate Winery & Creamery in Penticton.
Head cheesemaker Shana Miller has owned the winery with her husband, award-winning winemaker, Gavin Miller, since 2010.
The creamery, located in the back of building, makes eight different, handcrafted, artisan cheeses — with its mild, blue cheese, called King Cole, being its most well-known, Miller said. This blue cheese was named after her father.
All of the cheeses, which include washed-rind, brie, and blue cheeses, are gluten and additive free from pasturized Canadian cow’s milk from D Dutchmen Dairy in Sicamous.
“We make three batches of cheese a week,” said Miller on Thursday while making a fresh batch of the creamery’s newest addition, a tangy and sharp-flavoured cheese, Belle Marie.
It’s made by separating the delicate curds and then placing them spoonful-by-spoonful into the molds. It has a layer of black ash under a “white bloomy rind,” which makes it visually appealing. And it’s named after her mother.
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Here's a brand new batch of U&Brie who are just starting to grow their fuzz! These guys should be ready in a couple weeks. Remember, our tasting room is open daily, year-round so you can drop in for a wine and cheese tasting any time🧀🍷 . . . #upperbench #naramatabench #brie #bccheese #handmade #eatlocal #supportlocal #smallbusiness #cheesemaking
Carefully crafting best-selling cheeses, adding up to about 6,000 kilograms a year, sounds difficult. But Miller said there’s a trick to it.
“After you’ve made the cheese, you can do different things with it to create different types.
“Our two top blue cheeses — our Grey Baby and King Cole — it’s the same exact recipe, but two different techniques.”
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