Cheese made in Wales using French cave method showcased to world experts

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Cheese made in North Wales using a traditional French method to mature it deep in slate caverns is to be showcased at one of the world’s most prestigious cheese shows in Paris.

South Caernarfon Creameries will be showing some of the world’s most discerning experts at the Salon du Fromage how they have developed a Welsh version of the technique of maturing cheese deep in a cavern which was first created in France, to North Wales.

The co-operative based at Chwilog on the Llŷn Peninsula, is proudly owned by its farming members across North and Mid-Wales, and will be showing cheeses from its Dragon Handcrafted range at the show from 23 to 26 February 2020.

The speciality range includes the dairy’s Welsh Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar, which is matured 500 feet underground in the Llechwedd slate cavern at Blaenau Ffestiniog, in a traditional method used for centuries in France to achieve a deeper flavour.

All of the cheeses in the Handcrafted range were made in unique partnership with other North Wales businesses.

It also features a  Maplewood Smoked Cheddar, developed with the smokery at iconic Anglesey brand Halen Môn, and a sea salt cheddar also made in partnership with Halen Môn using sea salt from the Menai Strait.

The range is completed by Dragon’s Penderyn Whisky Cheddar, made by infusing the Welsh Slate Cavern Aged cheddar with a Madeira finish whisky from the iconic Welsh distillery.

All four cheeses will be showcased at the Cheese and Dairy Products show also known in French as the Salon du Fromage.

Now in its 16th year it, it is the capital event for the cheese industry, and will attract 219 exhibitors and 7,644 visitors at Paris Expo – Porte de Versailles (France).

Megi Williams, sales and marketing co-ordinator for South Caernarfon Creameries, said: “This is a great opportunity to show the world’s experts what fantastic dairy products we make here in Wales

“It’s exciting that we’ll be able to talk to people about how the cavern maturing technique inspired by traditional French techniques is being used here in North Wales.

“The range we’re showing is really unique as its made in partnership with other Welsh companies such as Llechwedd Slate caverns, Halen Môn and Penderyn.

“We’re looking forward to introducing the Dragon handcrafted range to lots of industry experts.”

The Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar last year featured in a Japanese TV programme about Welsh Wonders of the World, after a crew from the TBS network visited the Llechwedd Slate Caverns to see how it is matured 500 metres underground.

The technique has been used for years in France to develop rich, sweet flavor profiles in cheeses such as Roquefort.

It works due to the unique temperature, humidity and air pressure in the caves which has the effect of deepening the richness, texture and flavour of the cheese.

“We are very proud to be Welsh and of the provenance of our cheeses, being made using 100% milk from our Welsh dairy farms,” added Megi.

“It’s great that such a prestigious international audience will get to taste our most innovative cheeses – we’re sure they will get a good reaction and we will raise awareness of our fantastic Welsh products across the globe.”

The South Caernarfon Creameries products will be showcased on the Menter a Busnes stand.

SCC managing director Alan Wyn Jones said: “The Dragon Handcrafted range is something we worked hard on to develop.

“We have taken some of the best high-quality Welsh ingredients, rooted in local heritage, and created a premium range of cheeses to truly be proud of.

“We worked closely with experts at Halen Môn, Llechwedd Slate Cavern, and Penderyn whisky to develop these unique flavours.

“The results are testament to the quality of the produce from our farmers, as well as the skill of our cheesemakers, and we are sure they which will be a luxury compliment to any cheese platter.”

Cheeses from the Dragon Handcrafted range are already stocked by Tesco in Wales, and the dairy hopes to continue expanding its customer base for all of its cheeses in future.

South Caernarfon Creameries was founded in 1938 to get a fair price for farmers for their milk, and has operated for more than 80 years at the same base at Chwilog near Pwllheli,  where it employs 130 staff.