Jail for eating cheese

Jail for eating cheese

As Becky Wicks finds out, a tour to Sydney’s Fort Denison combines two unique aspects of Australia’s past – criminals and cattle
Tasting cheese at Fort Denison
We're guessing the original inhabitants didn't eat quite this well.

Where the Sydney Opera House now stands on Bennelong Point was also the place where the country’s first five cows and two bulls were unloaded from the First Fleet into enclosures in 1788.

A great view of the Sydney icon can be found at Fort Denison -- the harbor side jail where convicts of yesteryear spent their lives in ball and chain.

One tour -- Fort Denison Australian Cheese & Wine Experience -- mixes an historical visit to the fort with cheese, wine and even beer tasting.

Heading over to Fort Denison from Circular Quay, guests get to look at the birthplace of the cattle industry and take part in their tasting session of choice.

On the dairy front, there are 12 cheeses in the seven different categories. They’ll be hard, soft, dry, crumbly and some of them, pretty darn stinky.

They are made with sheep, goat, cow or buffalo milk.

A lot of visitors on the trip, tour master Claudia Bowman says, don’t realize that Australia has herds of buffalo -- which help to contribute to some of the best milk and cheese on offer.

Visitors to Fort Denison can still climb The Martello Tower (an additional cost of AU$10) -- a sandstone defensive fort built in 1857 for protection against the Russians (alas, by the time it was built, the Crimean Wear had ended).

Visitors in the past have found the Fort Denison Australian Cheese & Wine Experience listed on various Asian food blogs, though it’s surprising how many secret cheese freaks there are already living in Sydney, keen to explore the harbor and learn as they eat.

For those that have scoffed your way through the Fort Denison Australian Cheese & Wine Experience and are up for a culinary overload, there are group and private themed courses available, too, depending on preference.

Tastings range from Spanish Cheese, The Great Blue Cheeses of the World, Italian Cheeses and What Cheese Is That.

The Beer and Cheese option is for those who want an introduction to a true Australian food and drink pairing. Naturally.

The Fort Denison Australian Cheese & Wine Experience costs AU$170 inclusive of GST. An additional cost of AU$10 applies for a guided tour of the Martello Tower.

The total tour time is 2.5 hours including transport. The course itself is 2 hours from 12:10 noon to 2:10 pm. More details at mcintoshandbowman.com
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Becky Wicks is a freelance lifestyle and travel writer, an author and an itchy-footed dreamer who likes pies and wine a little too much.

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