North Wales farmers urged to revive the art of local cheese-making

Local cheeses, cream and yoghurts could once again be produced on farms in Denbighshire and Flintshire thanks to a ground-breaking new scheme.

Rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd has been working with the Food Technology Centre at Coleg Menai, Llangefni, to develop a new range of dairy products.

The selection of hard and soft cheeses, clotted cream and Greek-style yoghurts will be presented to a special product development evening at the Brookhouse Mill, in Denbigh, on Thursday, March 13.

Robert Price, Cadwyn Clwyd’s Agri-Food Project Officer, said: “This area is one of the UK’s top dairy areas with rich pastureland and high quality farms producing the very finest milk.

“There’s no reason why it shouldn’t also produce dairy products that are household names and we hope to encourage just those sorts of enterprise.

“We asked the Food Technology Centre to come up with a range of products which we could make here, which would be branded locally and for which there is a gap in the market.

“We don’t want to compete with what others are doing in North Wales, we want to develop new products and create a thriving and diverse dairy industry which creates jobs and puts us on the map in the way that Cheddar, Camembert and Parmesan do.”

The project has been funded by Cadwyn Clwyd through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) through the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Plan and is part of a three-year plan to revitalise rural communities and their economies.

Senior Food Technologist Annemarie Flinn has supervised the development of the new products and she said: “By carrying out market research we have identified opportunities for what could be produced and looked at neighbouring areas so as to avoid duplication.

“We have developed five new products which we feel have excellent potential, a hard cheese, a softer washed-rind cheese such as the Dutch Gouda, a Greek-style set yoghurt and a clotted cream style product.

“These would all be viable and we would want them to adapt the recipes so as to make a distinctive product local to their area which could be marketed that way.

“We have now developed these products to the point that we will be able to bring them to the open evening and people interested will be able to see them and, more importantly, taste them.”

It’s a route that the Food Technology Centre has explored before with Aberwen cheese, a crumbly, Cheshire-style cheese made in the Conwy Valley by Bodnant Welsh Food.

Aled Rowlands, Bodnant’s dairy manager, said: “The Food Technology Centre helped us develop Aberwen from a traditional recipe and it is currently our bestseller.

“We worked with the Centre on the original recipe which was used to produce hand-made cheese in Denbighshire and Flintshire in the 18th and 19th centuries so I’m sure there is further scope to produce other artisan cheeses here in North Wales.”

Anne-Marie Flinn added: “Through the project we can provide support for those interested in making one of these products.

“They would need access to a supply of milk but they wouldn’t necessarily need to be a dairy farmer and we already have strong interest from a number of local people.

“It is a rural area with a high level of farming and there’s the potential to add value to local milk by making a high quality product and this is something that could get off the ground quickly.

“The cheese could initially be made here in Llangefni using our dairy development facilities which offer ideal support for new businesses.”

For more information on the product development event at the Brookhouse Mill contact Cadwyn Clwyd on 01824 705802 or e-mail

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