There are many things that Wales is notably famous for including beautiful mountains, award-winning beaches, friendly Welsh people, rugby, extreme sports and of course, food. To be even more specific – taste-bud-tantalising cheese, Welsh Cheeses are the best!
When it comes to cheese in Wales, we’ve got it nailed down to a fine art. After all, we did invent the world’s greatest (posh) cheese on toast, Welsh Rarebit. There is even an old joke about our undeniable love for cheese that dates back to medieval times. It goes a little something like this:
“One day in Heaven St Peter found himself with a bit of a problem; the Welshmen in Heaven were being far too noisy. They were singing at all hours, being boisterous, playing rugby and chattering to such an extent that God couldn’t hear himself think.
So, he asked St Peter to do something about it, and, after some thought, Saint Peter walked outside of Heaven, and yelled “Hot damn, boys, someone’s left a load of cheese out here!”
At which point every Welshman in Heaven ran outside to get some, and St Peter locked the door behind them.”
Although we are sure there are many different variations of the joke as it has been passed down through the generations, the point is very clear. In Wales we LOVE cheese and we want to share our fabulously delicious ‘caws’ (that’s cheese in Welsh by the way) with the world!
When it comes to cheese in Wales, we don’t mess around. The cheesemakers on this list create award-winning Welsh cheeses that, after trying them, will make you turn away from that supermarket cheese in disgust!
The best Welsh cheeses and Cheesemakers
The Blaenafon Cheddar Company, South Wales
The Blaenafon Cheddar Company are specialists in one thing. That’s right, you guessed it, cheddar. This award-winning cheesemaker produces their cheese at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Blaenavon.
Here all of their cheeses are handmade and, even more excitingly, their famous Pwll Mawr cheddar is actually aged 300ft below ground at the bottom of the mine shaft at Big Pit Mining Museum another part of the UNESCO site.
Their distinctive cheddars are often blended with a variety of local flavours and their Taffy Apple Cider cheddar is delicious heaped up high and melted on toast.
Caws Cenarth Cheese, Mid Wales
Caws Cenarth is the oldest established producer of Welsh Farmhouse Caerphilly. But they don’t just make plain old Caerphilly, Caws Cenarth have broken the mould to produce superb other varieties including Garlic and Herb and even Smoked Caerphilly. More recently they bridged out into developing new cheeses, and their Brie-like Perl Wen, and outstanding creamy blue cheese Perl Las are award-winning.
On a tour to Caws Cenarth, you can discover how their cheese is made and watch the cheesemakers below hard at work. Then comes the exciting bit as you get to taste a sample of each of their cheeses whilst learning more about the history of Welsh cheesemaking.
Perl Las is delightful melted across a freshly grilled burger.
Caws Teifi Cheese, Mid Wales
Caws Teifi Cheese is now the longest established artisan cheese maker in Wales. Since their conception in 1982, they have been at the forefront of Welsh artisanal cheesemaking with their clever mix of traditional and modern techniques.
Teifi Cheese are in fact one of the most highly awarded cheesemakers in Britain. Their cheeses have won countless first prizes and gold medals at The British Cheese Awards and The World Cheese Awards.
Want to know more? We can organise your group to take a tour around the factory where you can see the cheesemakers in action. Couple it with a tasting of their famous Dà Mhìle Welsh Whisky and Gin for the ultimate Welsh food and drink experience.
The Teifi Cheese Mature Caerphilly is perfect with a tangy farmhouse chutney.
Dragon Cheese, North Wales
Dragon Cheese is a big player on the list. You may recognise it from the shelves of most major UK supermarkets.
Dragon are a co-operative made up of 130 farms, some of which have been supplying the co-operative with milk for many generations. The close relationships built with all the farmers means that Dragon Cheese is made with only the best milk. Every carefully picked farmer really cares about their herds.
The cows graze on lush grass and enjoy some of the most spectacular views that Wales has to offer – including the Llŷn Peninsula and Snowdonia National Park!
The beautifully buttery cheese is delightful and the Penderyn Whisky Cavern Aged Cheddar takes a ham and cheese toastie up a notch!
Hafod Cheese, Mid Wales
Hafod cheese is a handmade traditional hard cheese produced at Bwlchwernen Fawr, Wales’ longest certified organic dairy farm.
In 2007 Hafod Cheese was brought to life through the collaboration of Patrick Holden, a dairy farmer and his son and daughter-in-law who dreamed to one day produce a truly special Welsh-made cheese. The secret? Patrick’s old friend Dougal who mastered cheesemaking in the Swiss Alps taught Sam the art and it is his recipe that sparked the fire that is Hafod.
The cheese has developed a character of its own since then but the buttery, rich, nutty flavours of the Swiss origin still live on in this wonderful cheese that is the best accompaniment to Welsh Cawl (a delicious traditional Welsh lamb stew).
The Snowdonia Cheese Company, North Wales
The Snowdonia Cheese Company was born in 2001 with the sole aim of producing a new premium quality cheese that could be taken to the masses. They immediately garnered success at the local farmers’ markets and within 6 months the cheeses they had created were being stocked by fine food delicatessens and grocers across Wales. Their award-winning range of cheeses are created among the beautiful valleys, lakes and mountains of Snowdonia and their cheese embody their location.
Their unmissable flagship cheese Black Bomber has won awards at The World Cheese Awards, Nantwich International Cheese Awards, the Great British Cheese Awards and a Super Gold in France at Mondial Fromage. If you love strong cheddar, then we think it’s the best on the planet!
There you have it. Six incredible Welsh Cheesemakers and that produce a huge selection of award-winning Welsh cheeses that put Wales on the map of cheese heaven.
Are you desperate to try some of these fantastic cheeses? Cambria Tours specialise in creating small group, bespoke tours of Wales. Our Tour of Welsh Cheeses will tantalise your taste buds as you visit Cheesemakers across our beautiful country, learn the secret arts of Welsh cheesemaking, sample delicious cheeses at a variety of locations from source and supplier, all while you learn about the land of our fathers along the way.
When it comes to cheese. We don’t mess around.
We hope to see you soon.