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Guest Blog from Hannah Turner from Brooke’s Dairy

 

Brooke’s Dairy make a fantastic soft cheese called Angiddy, which is rapidly becoming a favourite of many Welsh cheese lovers. Hannah Turner, daughter of  Wye Valley dairy farmers Robert and Irene Brooke, started making Angiddy only a couple of months before The Welsh Cheese Company was launched, and we were delighted to be the first people to start selling this delicious Brie-style cheese. We’ve asked Hannah to give us some insights into her first year as a cheesemaker, and to tell us about the exciting new developments happening on her farm.

 

My first year as a cheese maker has been exciting, tiring but really fulfilling and we’re really looking forward to the next 12 months, not least because we are in the process of refurbishing a barn on the farm to create a cheese dairy. I worked with Food Centre Wales to develop Angiddy and have been making it there while we plan our new dairy. FCW is a food technology centre offering facilities, training and technical guidance to new businesses. It’s such an amazing place and you can trial new products with the support of their experienced food technologists without having to invest in your own premises until you’re 100% sure you have a product that people will want to eat.

As well as the facilities at FCW, being surrounded by other start-ups and new products being developed it’s a great place to network and it was through FCW that we met The Welsh Cheese Company who became our first customer for Angiddy.
We have been producing ice cream on our farm in Monmouthshire since the 1990’s and luckily for us our foray into cheese is proving successful too, winning awards at the Royal Welsh and World Cheese Awards, so it has been a relatively easy decision to take the plunge and join the cheese making world.


Our new dairy has taken a lot of planning, as farmers we already work 24 hours a day 7 days a week but embarking on this cheese journey has taken that phase to a new level. We’ve sought advice from lots of different places, other cheese makers, the Specialist Cheese Makers Association and our local EHO and it’s been lovely how interested and supportive everyone has been in our project. It’s such an exciting time for us as well as being a big investment, and with support through the Welsh Government’s Food Business Investment scheme we have now started the refurbishment of the ‘cheese dairy’ on the farm.
Angiddy is a mould ripened cheese and there have been lots of things to consider in terms of the layout of the making room, the temperature the cultures need to work, the ripening room with the correct conditions for the mould to grow not to mention all the equipment needed, some of which has arrived already. We are a few weeks in and although there is still quite a way to go I can’t wait to start producing on the farm, metres from the fields that the cows graze and the parlour where they are milked.