• January 23rd, 2020

Omaruru cheese maker Tinkie boosts growing cottage industry

 Donna Collins

OMARURU - Health fads come and go, but one thing is for sure you cannot beat the benefits of the homemade cottage industry with its wholesome foods, especially pure farm produce with all the tasty goodness of the free-range lifestyle that goes with living out in nature.

When it comes to baking delicious bread, growing succulent vegetables, smoking mouth-watering game meat, pickling jams and condiments, making cheese then an industrious network of farmers wives living in Omaruru have just what it takes to lay on a sumptuous spread, supported by monthly markets. 

Of course, some people have that special touch when it comes to matters of the kitchen, and are truly gifted, enabling them to whip up just about any dish, recipe, treat or gourmet delight under the sun. But when it comes to cheese making you need a certain knack. 

One such lady is Omaruru cheese maker Tinkie Cornelissen, who is considered one of the boffins in her field. She started out six years ago, making use of the constant stream of milk that is available on her husband’s dairy farm, and was spurred on to try her hand at cheese making. 

Once she perfected her range, she went into production and soon was taking part in the popular Omaruru Farmers Market, where every second week she churned out her dairy product, to join a host of other stalls selling fresh foodstuffs.

In fact, Cornelissen mentioned that when she first started experimenting with cheese making, there were no ingredients available locally, and in order to make her range of delicious cheeses, she had to source everything from South Africa. 

Since then she has perfected her “hobby”, and apart from supplying to the market in Omaruru every second Saturday, a monthly Farmers Market in Swakopmund, she also sells fresh cheeses from her farm and even has orders from the Strand Hotel and bed and breakfast establishments. 

Cornelissen makes seven different types of cheese, including Cheddar, Feta, Brie, Camembert, Mozzarella and Blue, to mention some. What started out as a small sideline production working out of her kitchen at home has developed into something bigger, which resulted in Cornelissen setting up a separate cheese factory with all the necessary equipment to make the process flow.  

“Cheese-making in Namibia is developing and growing, with the first Omaruru Cheese Festival held last year proving to be very popular, with seven cheese makers taking part,” said Cornelissen. “We plan to hold it again next year and combine it with the Omaruru Arts Festival at the end of August, which should attract more people to the stalls, plus we are inviting a top cheese maker from South Africa to offer a demonstration course.

“I make my cheeses as I go along and stock in the coolers, because I have milk available from the cows every day,” Cornelissen said, adding that cheese making is like cooking - once you have the ingredients with a method and a recipe you can successfully make any type of cheese. 

Of course, she was not going to boast about how amazing her cheeses are but did say that she has received many compliments from her customers and many European tourists and cheese connoisseurs, who have rated her tops.   

“There are a few basic steps to cheese making, and they are the same no matter what kind of cheese you want to create, once you have mastered those steps, you can make anything,” concluded Cornelissen, who will be back at the Farmers Market in Swakopmund on 13 July with her tempting assortment of cheeses.

Staff Reporter
2019-06-28 11:58:11 | 6 months ago

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