The U.K. has over 1200 different cheeses, more types than France has, which everyone thinks is the home of cheese. Wales alone has about 150 cheeses made by around 25 cheese makers.
The growth of the artisan cheese maker has really taken off in the last fifteen or so years across Wales. Farmers soon realised that just selling milk to super markets was not a very profitable business so they decided to add value to their milk by turning it into cheese and selling cheese rather than just milk. Don’t just think Caerphilly when you think Welsh cheese, Wales has all types of soft and hard cheeses made from cows, sheep and goats milk, raw and pasteurised.
It was on Friday that I came by all this cheesy knowledge by going to a very informative cheese tasting at the National Trust farm, Llanerchaeron. We spent and hour in the company of cheese expert, David Edwards, who talked us through a sample of ten delicious cheeses from across Wales. Cheese is tasted from mildest to strongest for obvious reasons. We began with a traditional Caerphilly, from Caws Cenarth in Carmarthenshire ( caws is the Welsh for cheese), made from organic cows milk this cheese had a tingly, lemony bite and being quite mild would go wonderfully in a salad. A new cheese to me was the soft mould-ripened, Preseli, from Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheese in Pembrokshire. A fruity rich taste and a glossy straw colour made this cheese a deserving Gold Award Winner at the 2003 World Cheese awards.
Around the cheese board we went; goats cheese, two different blue cheeses, smoked cheese and even a scrumptious soft creamy Pont Gar infused with Garlic and Herbs which would make a new twist for cheese on toast. Our last mouthful came from the Teifi Cheese Company in the form of their double award winning, Saval. A semi-soft, washed rinded, raw milk cow’s cheese with an aroma and taste not dissimilar to Stinking Bishop. Very strong taste but would be the perfect way to finish up that last glass of red wine.
At Gliffaes we only have Welsh cheeses on our cheese board but this tasting opened my eyes to the many more cheeses out there and added to my knowledge about cheese in general. Look out for some new additions next time you are here.