A cheese factory within 5km of Brisbane City

Summer days - Watermelon & Grilled Halloumi Salad

In the back parts of Coorparoo,  is a small factory that handcrafts premium halloumi, fetta and ricotta.  Olympus Cheese, has been perfecting its craft in Brisbane since 1970. The current owners, Michael & Desiree Gavriel, took over the business in 1998. It is a treat to be able to source these products within 5 kilometres of Brisbane city. I have been buying Olympus halloumi from my local fruit shop for a while, so I decided to met Desiree Gavriel at the factory, to find out more of the story behind this awesome squeaky cheese.

Desiree explained that Olympus Cheese  operates on a strict supply demand basis. They don’t stockpile product, as most of the cheeses have a short maturation time and are best served up fresh. If the demand is slow, they will drop back production, until it picks up. I love that the consistent delivery of fresh high quality cheese, is paramount and dictates production.

This vat is creating curds & whey, using non-animal rennet and starter culture. The whey is separated and put aside to use in Ricotta. This vat will produce about 280Kg of halloumi.

It is a one room factory operation that produces about 1 tonne of cheese each day.

All of the cheese making ingredients come from Queensland, except for the cultures.  As there is no Australian producers of starter culture, this is imported from Denmark.  Two days a week, the Parmalat milk truck comes straight from the farms to the factory. Whatever milk they don’t take then goes on to Parmalat.

Olympus halloumi is made to a traditional Cypriot method. Once separated, the curd is pressed into a mould and cut into rectangles and heated. It is then hand sprinkled with mint, folded and placed in a light brine for 24 hours before being packaged. This is a 3 day process all up.

The Olympus Cheese factory in Coorparoo - A humble front to the home of awarding winning handcrafted cheese

The Olympus Cheese website has a few recipe ideas and suggested serving halloumi the Cypriot way by cubing and mixing it with fresh watermelon.  I decided to give this unusual combination and go and was so impressed.

You really have to try this combination, it is fantastic.  With the start of warmer weather in the air, I served this up for lunch on the back deck.  The cold watermelon with a hint of mint bursts with juicy flavour and the cheese is still warm, soft and a bit salty.

I kept my ingredient list simple: cubed watermelon, diced grilled halloumi, mint and a wedge of lime.

Try to go for firm watermelon that is ripe but not too mushy, you want it to hold its shape when stirring the salad.

Do you have an interesting take on this salad or another awesome halloumi creation? I would love to hear from you,  please post any suggestions or ideas in the comments below.

Provenance Shopping Basket

  • 430g Halloumi cheese in vacuum seal pack, $7.00 ($16/kg) – Coorparoo, Queensland

Extra information to help you find Olympus Cheese for yourself

  • The factory is open to the public  Monday – Friday, 7.00am – 3.30pm.  You can see the factory floor from a viewing window and buy their products over the counter.
  • Located at 8 Churchill Street in Coorparoo, the factory is very close to the Coorparoo train station and there is a small customer car park and plenty of street parking.
  • If you can’t make it to the factory, Olympus Cheese has a number of  stockists. I usually buy it from Sherwood Fruit Market in Sherwood.

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