Caerphilly cheese production returns to hometown

Caerphilly cheese is once again being made in its home town almost 30 years after it was forced to stop.

Production of the world-famous cheese in Caerphilly ended in 1995 when European legislation made it illegal to take delivery of unpasteurised milk in metal churns.

Now, Huw Rowlands, 26, and Deian Thomas, 39, are hoping to reignite the local cheese-making tradition.

They have been working for over three years to perfect the cheese.

Caerphilly is a flat, round shaped, crumbly white cheese and is the only type to originate from Wales.

It was originally produced from about 1830 by a number of farms in the area.

Caerphilly was popular with local miners as it was a cheese that did not dry out when they were underground, and it was believed that it helped restore the miners’ salt levels lost while working.

Mr Thomas and Mr Rowlands are hoping their new cheese company, Cwmni caws Caerffili (Caerphilly cheese company), will lead to “the regeneration of the cheese” in the area.

They said it would also give dairy farmers the opportunity to add value to their milk.

Mr Rowlands is a member of the Gelligaer Young Farmers Club and has a background in food production, but he admitted that learning to make Caerphilly cheese came with its challenges.

“Understanding the science behind it has been a challenge,” Mr Rowlands said.

“I honestly thought to start that making cheese was a bit of milk and a bit of rennet.

“We’ve really had to work hard to get to where we are now and become cheesemakers and have the skills to produce cheese of the highest standard.”

Mr Thomas said: “It’s a lot more technical that people expect, especially with different pressing pressures and making sure it is maturing correctly.

“It has been a lot of work, with a lot of late nights.”

Mr Rowlands said the venture is personal too, as his family have been a part of the local cheesemaking tradition for generations.

He said: “My grandmother and great grandmother used to make cheese on their farm and do a quick turnaround when they had spare milk. We also used to have a milk round.

“This for me now is tying all the knots together and really is all about bringing Caerphilly cheese back home.”

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