A Clevedon couple who farm water buffaloes for their milk, have been recognised as producers of New Zealand's best artisan food product.
The Clevedon Valley Buffalo Company owned by Helen and Richard Dorresteyn is the supreme winner in this year's Cuisine artisan awards, for their buffalo yoghurt.
Judges said it was an outstanding example of European-style yoghurt and Mrs Dorresteyn says that's due to the distinctive properties of buffalo milk.
She says their yoghurt is "very very thick" and almost like ice cream. It's a natural product with a distinctive taste, but does not taste fatty.
The Dorresteyns, who have also won national awards for their mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, began their operation about three years ago, after importing water buffalo from Australia.
They have more than 100 in their herd now, but need to expand to meet the demand for their cheese and yoghurt, which are sold from Auckland to Invercargill.
Mrs Dorresteyn says their biggest issue at the moment is not having enough milk. At present, they are milking 30 - 35 head of water buffalo and will increase this number to 40 - 45 next summer.