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A "brilliant marriage" . . . Whitestone Cheese managing director Simon Berry (left) and Delectables Bakery owners Amie and Nathan Rawson show off their Shenley Station Blue and Beef Pie, a silver medallist at the 2019 Outstanding New Zealand Food Producer Awards. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

A few beers last summer led to a “brilliant marriage” between Delectables Bakery and Whitestone Cheese.

The two Oamaru companies joined forces this year to create the Shenley Station Blue Cheese and Beef Pie, which last week won a silver medal at the 2019 Outstanding New Zealand Food Producer Awards.

Delectables Bakery owners Amie and Nathan Rawson said they had always wanted to do a collaboration with Whitestone Cheese, and decided this was the year to make it happen.

“We tried a few combinations, but in the end we liked the sweet and sour aspects of the Shenley Station Blue,” Mr Rawson said.

“It’s got a mushroomy, smooth finish, and holds together but still melts in your mouth and it matches brilliantly with the seasoned Kumara.

“One of our bakers, Craig French, used to be a chef, and he is very passionate about matching flavour profiles.”

They will now travel to Auckland for an awards ceremony, where the supreme award winners will be announced.

At the awards night, smaller versions of the pie will be served, along with a selection of Whitestone Cheese.

“Its really cool that two local businesses have got together. It’s a neat collaboration and good to support each other,” Mr Rawson said.

Whitestone Cheese had an outstanding return from its other entries in the 2019 Outstanding New Zealand Food Producer Awards, collecting nine medals in total, including three golds for its Ferry Road Halloumi, Vintage Windsor Blue and Vintage Five Forks.

Its Shenley Station Blue cheese was awarded a bronze medal.

Whitestone Cheese managing director Simon Berry said it had been a fantastic year for the company, and he put it down to having a great team.

Production of the Shenley Station Blue cheese only started at the end of 2017, after an extensive bio-prospecting project searching for an original New Zealand Penicillium Roqueforti blue mould strain.

Usually only sourced from the Roquefort caves in France, Whitestone found its own strain in a bale of hay at Shenley Station in Fairlie – believed, by Mr Berry, to be a world first.