Where it all began....
Inspired by the way his Cypriot mother Lefki made halloumi cheese, Michael Matsis decided to research the art of cheese making. With a Food Technologist degree under his belt and years of perfecting the art of cheese-making, including installing a VAT machine outside his sister Meropi’s Wellington house, Michael’s dream became a reality in 2000 when he started up his first business Zany Zeus with his sister Meropi.
Initially Michael focused on introducing a traditional Cypriot halloumi cheese to the New Zealand market which was relatively unknown at the time – and it wasn’t long before the awards began rolling in and Zany Zeus cheeses, including halloumi and feta became a well loved and recognised brand in the hospitality industry.
In 2003 Zany Zeus upgraded its processing facility to include a HTST Pasteurisation System complete with homogeniser, separator and bottling plant. It is from this point that Zany Zeus began to process organic milk under the Zorganic brand.
For the past 20 years the company has focused on supplying cheese, organic milk, cream and cultured products (mascarpone, sour cream, crème fraiche, cream cheese and yoghurt) to hundreds of cafes and restaurants, predominately in the Wellington region.
Following increasing demand from customers wanting to buy retail sized Zany Zeus products (including several door knocking attempts by Zany Zeus fans on the factory door!), Michael and his sister Meropi decided to open in March 2012 their first ever retail store in Moera, Lower Hutt, just up the road from the milk and cheese factory.
The entire Zany Zeus cheese range is available to purchase in store including its well-known cultured products – crème fraiche, mascarpone, cream cheese and sour cream; all of which are sold in retail sized packages.
Exclusive to the store is a Zany Zeus smoked cheese range which includes smoked brinza, smoked ricotta as well as smoked yoghurt - the first ‘yoghurt’ of its kind available in New Zealand.
The store is open from 8am to 5pm, Wednesday to Saturday inclusive and Sunday from 9am to 5pm.
But wait, it only gets better! Zany Zeus is excited to introduce its own premium ice-cream made with fresh organic milk and organic cream, available exclusive to the store in a range of unique flavours including cookies and cream, monkey poo, greek yoghurt lemon curd, feijoa, chocolate rough, ghana chocolate and many more. Every now and then customers will be given the opportunity to watch and learn how the ice cream is made by viewing the process through a glass window in the store.
For years they have been producing organic milk because not only does it taste like milk should – fresh, sweet, creamy and not over processed – but there is a huge demand for it by consumers and particularly the hospitality industry where it is the preferred milk by baristas. Zany Zeus currently supplies organic milk and cream to the Wellington market where demand for it has been growing steadily over the years.