We make Hafod in our purpose built dairy on the farm. The recipe for the cheese originated locally, from the late Dougal Campbell, a close friend of Patrick’s. Dougal learned to make cheese in the Swiss Alps before moving to West Wales in the early 1980s. Here he started making a cheese called T’yn Grug using milk from both his own herd and ours. Whilst doing so, Dougal trained a number of cheesemakers, including Simon Jones of Lincolnshire Poacher.
While visiting Bwlchwernen Fawr, Patrick suggested the idea of developing a cheese on the farm to his son, Sam and daughter-in-law Rachel. The idea was appealing enough for them to give up careers in London and head West.
In 2005, Sam and Rachel Holden developed a welsh-made cheddar that would eventually become Hafod. With the support of Simon and many other great cheesemakers, including Joe Schneider of Stichelton, and using the Poacher recipe as a starting point, Sam and Rachel started making cheese in August 2007.
Sam and Rachel have now moved onto pastures new, but we continue their cheesemaking tradition, making approximately 200 kg of Hafod every other day, piping milk directly from the milking parlour into our purpose-built dairy.
Although the recipe for the cheese is very similar to that of a cheddar, Hafod has distinctive rich, buttery, nutty flavours – indicative of its Swiss origins combined our raw Ayrshire milk and the ‘terroir’ of the pasture and soil of our farm.
The cheese is made in 10kg and 18kg rounds, cloth bound and matured to 16 months, during which time it develops a traditional mould rind.