Eleven months ago I visited the artisanal The Gourmet Greek cheese and yoghurt production facility on the Midlands Meander in KZN, meeting the hospitable Greek Dimitriades family. I returned to the cheesery on Thursday, and found that The Blue Cow Deli, which had opened eight months ago. 

I had visited The Gourmet Greek with Hartford House GM Duncan Bruce and Executive Chef Constantijn Hahndiek last year, and we were shown around the production facility by cheese maker Filia Dimitriades. The production facility was under construction at the time, in being enlarged, and it appears that most of the construction has just been completed. They now have a dedicated yoghurt room, and space for packaging. The Gourmet Greek started operating in 2012, and has grown substantially since then. In 2013 it won the Eat Out Food Network Produce Award. The Dimitriades family of parents, and son and daughter is hands-on in running the business, each one having a particular focus. 

The Gourmet Greek artisinal cheese and yoghurt producers on Midlands Meander!

One parks behind the new The Blue Cow Deli, and walks past a large indemnity sign. Tables have been set up outside, and the Greek roots are immediately visible, with blue and white striped upholstery on the seating. Inside the restaurant of the Deli is a fridge with The Gourmet Greek cheeses, while the Deli section sells a range of jams and preserves, as well as cheese boards and knives. Whilst I was deciding what to eat, I ordered a dry cappuccino, and was brought water with lemon and mint in a blue and white striped jug, reinforcing the Greek blue and white  colours.

As I had enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Hartford House, I tried to reduce my eating, and ordered a Greek favorite: grilled Gourmet Greek herbed halloumi, fresh lemon, tzatziki, and toasted pita bread (R50). The cutlery is cheap supermarket quality, as are the serviettes, but the dish presentation was good. The taste took me back to Mykonos, and all I was missing was the ocean. 

The menu is A4, laminated, and offers a range of hot beverages, as well as ‘Gourmet Smoothies‘, made with Gourmet Greek yoghurt, choices being peanut butter and banana, berry, and strawberry. Homemade lemonade is an alternative too. Three platters are offered: a Gourmet Greek cheese board and a Greek meze board (I photographed that of another table), both at R95, as well as a Gourmet Greek cheese and charcuterie board, at R120. Moussaka (R90) takes 45 minutes to cook, being pre-prepared, and souvlaki costs R85. A Greek dessert plate with baklava, kourabiedes, and melomakarona costs R45.  Breakfast is served all day, and the options range in price from R45 for Gourmet Greek yoghurt and granola with fruit compote, to R60 for a breakfast of scrambled eggs with halloumi, bacon, bread, and preserves. An almond biscuit was served with the cappuccino.

I bought some cheeses to take down to Cape Town with me, and waitress Pepe was very kind to offer me some avocado and lemons from the property to take back with me to Cape Town. She showed me down to the offices, where  I chatted with Dimitri, Rosemary, Iakovos, and Filia. They are working on upgrading their packaging, and I was shown the new Boursin-type packs, the strong new design attracting attention. Halloumi had just been made, with herbs, and with Chili, and was waiting to be wrapped. 

Filia was overseeing the making of cheddar cheese, which was being made in a 600 liter vat with milk and cultures, a staff member and a machine arm stirring the liquid, separating the curd (12%) and whey (88%). The curd becomes the cheese, while the whey is sent to a piggery. The Gourmet Greek is working toward a local quality auditing system, giving it an entree into larger retail outlets. 

The Gourmet Greek is a passionate artisanal family-owned and run farm-style hand-crafted cheesery and yoghurt supplier, whose products are not yet available in Cape Town. Filia told me that they are looking into the logistics of getting their products there. 

The Gourmet Greek, Lions River, KZN. Tel (033) 234-4338 Cell 082 326 5309 www.thegourmetgreek.com

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein