22 Nov 2020
Wales’ exciting newcomer
1 Dec 2017
Two years ago, Hannah Turner decided to embark on a new adventure. Her family had been making ice cream on the family farm in Monmouthshire for 20 years using milk from their Jersey herd, but Hannah had a hunch that Brooke’s Farm could offer something more: its own artisan cheese.
She set about learning the art of cheesemaking, and with help from Food Centre Wales she developed a beautiful mould ripened cheese, which she has named Angiddy after the valley where the farm is based.
“It’s a bit like a Brie or a Camembert,” she says. “We chose this for a couple of reasons: we wanted to showcase the creaminess of the milk we are using, and soft cheese is a family favourite.”
She launched the cheese earlier this year, and has been delighted with the response: the cheese won a silver award at the Royal Welsh Show in the summer, followed by a Gold at the World Cheese Awards in November, and customers have given excellent feedback.
“The colour of Angiddy is really distinctive: the yellow, creamy colour is quite different from other Brie-style cheese and our customers have said this characteristic carries forward into the taste to give a very creamy cheese,” says Hannah.
Jersey cows are renowned for having rich, creamy milk with high butter fat, which Hannah and her family knew would be perfect for a soft cheese. The pastures they graze on also add to the cheese’s unique qualities.
“We farm in the Wye Valley where the cows enjoy the lush Welsh grass. As the seasons change the grass changes too and the smell, colour and taste of the milk also changes. This does give some variation in the cheese but that makes it a truly artisan cheese reflecting our farm.”
Adapting to cheesemaking
Mastering cheesemaking after years making ice cream was an interesting shift for Hannah, as she had to learn to work at a different pace.
“Making cheese is very different: ice cream is done and dusted and in the freezer within the same day but cheese is a slower process, requiring different conditions for the different parts of the making process, and taking roughly two weeks before you can eat it. One of the plus points is it’s generally done in warmer conditions than ice cream!”
Hannah and her customers have already found plenty of ways to enjoy Angiddy: just like Camembert, it is beautiful baked until molten and eaten with dips and fresh bread. It’s also delicious on a pizza, in an omelette or in a sandwich with cranberry sauce – its slight tang goes particularly well with fruit.
Now she is working on developing new variations of the cheese and introducing it to a wider audience.
“As we’re at the early stages, our aim is to continue to find new customers for Angiddy and to create other cheeses to develop our range, perhaps with different inclusions like wild garlic,” she says.
One thing is certain: Angiddy is a wonderful addition to Wales’ growing larder of artisan cheeses – a cheese with real personality and a strong sense of place.