IT’S an area better known for its history of coracle fishing.
But a group of award-winning food producers have joined forces to promote a lush region of Wales as a centre of excellence for artisan cheese-making.
Teifi Valley Cheese Producers hope to make the valley, which meets the sea at Cardigan, synonymous with world-class cheese in the same way that the Loire valley in western France is linked with fine wine the world over.
Each of the five cheese producers are described as masters in their field, having reaped numerous awards at national and international level, including accolades at the International Cheese Awards, Great Taste Awards and the Welsh True Taste Food and Drink Awards.
And by forming the group, they hope it will help attract more “foodies” to the Teifi valley, increase sales of Welsh cheese and lead to tasting tours and twinning possibilities with the popular wine-making region of France.
The producers are Caws Cenarth, Teifi Farmhouse Cheese, Carmarthenshire Cheese Company, Hafod Welsh Organic Cheddar and Sanclêr Organic.
Peter Austin, Ceredigion’s tourism development officer, said: “We know that food tourism is high on the agenda across the UK and Europe.
“And when we realised that we had such a number of high quality cheese-makers in one area of Wales, we wanted to celebrate the fact.
“The idea is that consumers can pick up their favourite Teifi valley cheese at a local retailer or restaurant and then pay a visit to the source to see where it was made.
“Caws Cenarth and Teifi Farmhouse Cheese already have cheese shops on site and guided cheese-making and tasting tours can be provided, in a similar way to wine tours.
“The cheese group is in its infancy, but there is a lot of potential to match up each cheese with certain wine and different beverages.”
The river Teifi is already well known as a tourist destination, especially among anglers and walkers. But it hardly has the pull of the Loire valley, despite both being picturesque and running through rural and historic areas.
Caws Teifi Cheese has been named ‘Best Welsh Cheese’ at the British Cheese Awards, for a record sixth time.
Ceredigion cheesemakers Paula van Werkhoven and John-James Savage-Onstwedder received ‘The Dougal Campbell Memorial Trophy’ for their Teifi Natural cheese, at the awards ceremony at Cardiff City Hall.
It is the sixth time the Llandysul based artisan cheesemakers has won the Welsh Government sponsored trophy.
The company’s latest accolade follows previous success in numerous cheesemaking competitions with its range of cheeses including top honours at The World Cheese Awards; Product of the Year at the 2010-11 Wales the True Taste Food & Drink Awards; and has twice won the Supreme Champion title at the British Cheese Awards.
Also among Caws Teifi Cheese’s trophy cabinet is the highest award in British Artisan Cheesemaking – ‘The James Aldridge Memorial Trophy for the Best British Raw Milk Cheese, which was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales.
Said Caws Teifi Cheese founder, John Savage-Onstwedder,
“We have been making cheese for 28 years at Glynhynod Farm and we are delighted that the cheese we started with all those years ago has won again this year.
“We can confidently say that over the past 28 years Caws Teifi Cheese has proved to be the most highly awarded cheese in British artisan cheesemaking.”
Five of Wales’ best known cheese producers have joined forces to highlight a west Wales valley as the hub of artisan Welsh cheese making.
Under the umbrella name Teifi Valley Cheese Producers, award-winning producers Carmarthenshire Cheese Company, Caws Cenarth, Hafod Welsh Organic Cheddar, Sanclêr Organic, and Teifi Farmhouse Cheese, are planning to draw attention to the cheese producing attributes of the Teifi Valley area.
Each of the producers has reaped numerous awards at national and international level, including accolades at the International Cheese Awards, Great Taste Awards, and the Welsh food ‘Oscars’ the Wales the True Taste Food and Drink Awards. Read More.
OUR CHOICEST CHEESES
The French used to claim that Britain had many religions but only one cheese (Cheddar), while France had one religion (Catholicism) but a cheese for every day of the year. Now it's our turn to boast a cheese for every day: more than 365 are listed by the cheese-making associations of Britain and Ireland.
There is no question about quality. Quantity is the problem, with only 3,000 tons of hand-made cheese compared with 300,000 tons of the factory-made product. Tracking down good craft cheeses is an act of pilgrimage, for not every town has a specialist cheese shop, and supermarkets are little help. 'They are the enemies of good cheese,' says Cyril O'Donnell, of the Irish Cheesemakers' Association. 'All they want to do is wrap it in clingfilm and put it in a chill cabinet.' But he's delighted to note that the Irish chain Superquinn (with 14 stores) is putting dehumidifiers in the cheese cabinets, and this is going to help. 'You must give good cheese a chance. It's a living thing.'
Many, but not all of the 100 cheeses we list below have been made with raw, unpasteurised milk, which gives the flora and bacteria a chance to ripen the cheeses and develop depth and complexity of flavour.