Whitestone Cheese Factory – Oamaru, New Zealand

We had read about this place in the Lonely Planet guide and in the Air New Zealand magazine, so we decided it would be an excellent place to stop for lunch on the drive from Christchurch to Dunedin. They do tours of the factory, but we didn’t have time to do that. We did pick up a pamphlet when we arrived and discovered that all of their cheeses are made with non-animal rennet which made us both very happy! Unfortunately there were not a lot of vegetarian options on the menu, so I ordered a chicken panini without the chicken. The lady who took our order looked a little surprised and I explained that I was vegetarian. When it arrived and I started eating it, I decided that they probably added a few extra things to it as it was quite different to what I expected – it had a relish instead of pesto and came with mushrooms which were not listed on the chicken one. It also had tomato, spinach and brie. It was quite delicious! Martin ordered a mushroom and camembert melt and because he was really hungry also ordered the crumbed feta salad – which was large chunks of smooth, creamy feta, crumbed and fried on top of a salad. This was one of the most delicious feta cheeses that I have ever eaten. We debated as to whether we could buy some cheese and take it in the car without any means of keeping it nice and cool for the rest of the trip, but we finally decided that we shouldn’t do that. It is definitely worth the stop and I would try and leave a little more time to have a look through the factory and taste some more of the cheeses!