Forget Halloween candy, there’s another treat in town this month.

October is the official month of cheese in New Zealand and Kiwis are being encouraged to try something new.

A regular event on the New Zealand food calendar, the initiative is organised by the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association, to draw attention to the value of the local cheese industry.

New Zealand Cheese Month occurs in October because it’s ‘spring flush’ the early days of spring, with warmth and soil moisture creating lush, green grass for animals to feast on. Sheep and goat milking resumes and there is plenty of fresh cheese available for cheese lovers.

NZSCA chair, Catherine McNamara says the country’s cheesemaking industry is constantly evolving and she’s encouraging cheese lovers to take a fresh look and try something they haven’t had before.

“From its beginnings with the European settlers in the early 1800s, through to the present day; the art of cheesemaking has thrived in Aotearoa thanks to the environment producing some of the world’s best milk. This is reflected in the success small and large New Zealand cheese producers have enjoyed on the international stage.

“Now, more than ever, it is vitally important Kiwis support local cheesemakers to ensure their survival. On behalf of cheesemakers across the country, I encourage shoppers to look out for and purchase New Zealand cheese. Supporting delicious, locally made cheese will ensure it’s here for generations to come.”

McNamara says as well as enjoyment – there are sound economic reasons for Kiwis to buy New Zealand Cheese.

“Buying locally-made cheese keeps jobs and money in our country. It’s also supporting our regions as many of the cheesemakers and the farms which support them are in rural areas. Buying New Zealand cheese reduces food miles.”