Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A Slice of Wales: Hafod Cheese :: Updated ::

I'm of the opinion that if you're going to make something then make it well. Don't cut corners and put the best you have into everything you do. This especially applies to food production – the end result is only as good as what goes into it. In this case if you want the best cheese then you need the best milk.

The people at Bwlchwernen Fawr, Wales' longest certified organic dairy farm make their Hafod cheese using raw (unpasteurised) milk to produce an exceptional cheese. The combination of organic Ayrshire milk and traditional cheese making techniques give Hafod its rich buttery and nutty flavours.

I had the pleasure of tasting Hafod at the Real Food Festival. Sam and Rachel Holden make only one type of cheese that is matured for 16 months and 30 months respectively, to produce two very different results. The younger (mature) version is much like a creamier version of cheddar, with a smooth rich flavour. The more mature (vintage) version is decidedly different. Very flavoursome, strong and nutty, but no mouth burn that you might expect from most mature Cheddars. The taste reminded me of a Gruyere, a telling sign of Hafod's Swiss origins. (A trip to their website tells you more)

A chat with Sam revealed the story about their herd of Ayrshire cows, not noted for being high yield milkers one would wonder why they had chosen this particular breed. When the herd was established they were selected more for their hardiness that would be suited to the farm's climate, but the lower quantity of milk is made up in quality.

Ayrshire milk is much better suited to cheese making with its high butterfat and protein levels, but what makes it more special, is that it has a smaller fat globule size than that of other breeds, thus resulting in a finer, creamier cheese texture.
Sam went on to tell me that as an added bonus Ayrshires are characterful cows, even if it does mean he has to chase them all over the meadow to round them up!

Hafod is available to buy at selected shops, but best of all, you can by online. A slice of 'letterbox' cheese can be posted direct to your door without the need to stay in and wait for the delivery – what a brilliant idea!

For more information on Hafod Cheese and to buy online,
visit their website: hafodcheese.co.uk

Small images taken from Hafod's website

:: UPDATE ::

By way of a thank you to me, for writing this review of their fine cheese, the nice people at Hafod sent me a slab in the post. It was a such a lovely surprise to come back from shopping to find the package sitting on the door mat.

Yes, it really does fit through your door!
The cheese was well wrapped and arrived in good condition after its long journey from Wales and it tasted as good as ever.

Accompanying the cheese was a useful information leaflet too, which was even stamped with a date my cheese was made – very special, indeed.

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Jewel said...

Hafod cheese sounds tasty. I found your blog while trying to find one about Wales, where I am going on holiday soon.

I will be back to take another look at your blog, as it seems to have some rather tasty recipes.

Cheeky Spouse said...

Hi Jewel!
So pleased you found me by accident!
Hafod cheese is really good. Maybe you'll find some when you're in Wales.
Have a lovely holiday.

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