Thelma's Original Caerffili is produced by Caws Cenarth, a family-run business based in Carmarthenshire, South Wales.
It is a crumbly cow's milk cheese with a distinctive tri-layered cross section. Its natural mould rind is mottled grey-white in colour and has an earthy, mineral flavour. Beneath this is a supple, creamy-coloured layer with a mushroomy taste, and a dense white core. The delicate citrus flavour of this core is characteristic of Caerffili and has an underlying hint of sea salt.
Thelma's Original Caerffili is produced in 3kg rounds that are aged between four and six weeks. Its crumbly texture develops during this maturation process as acid levels rise within the cheese and naturally dry out the curd.
It is well matched with a citrusy ale or a white Burgundy, and makes an authentic Welsh supper when baked with leeks and served on toast.
- Pasteurised cow's milk
- Vegetarian rennet
What's special about Thelma's Original Caerffili?
Caws Cenarth was set up in 1987 by Gwyfor and Thelma Adams and is now run by their son Carwyn. Originally a dairy farm supplying liquid milk, the introduction of milk quotas prompted their diversification to use up excess milk from their Friesian-Holstein herd. Six generations of cheese-making in the family stood them in good stead. Today Thelma's Original Caerffili uses the same recipe Thelma Adams developed thirty years ago and traditional farmhouse methods of hand cutting the curd and hand moulding the cheeses.
In addition to Thelma's Original, Caws Cenarth produces a number of flavour variations including garlic and herbs Caerffili, and smoked Caerffili.
Since January 2018, this Traditional Welsh Caerffili (or Caerphilly) has enjoyed Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status similar to Champagne, Parma Ham and Melton Mobray pork pies.
Caerffili cheese is named after the Welsh town where it was first produced, 8 miles north of Cardiff. Its production dates back to the early 19th Century when it was a popular food for local miners. By the start of the 20th Century its production had gradually moved to England, namely Somerset and Wiltshire, and then with the start of World War II it disappeared as cheese-making was diverted to Cheddar since it was firmer and more easily transportable to troops across Europe.
Alongside the Somerset based dairies of Westcombe (who make Duckett's Caerphilly) and Trethowan (who make Gorwydd's), Thelma Adams was a key figure in the post-war renaissance of Caerffili and Welsh artisan cheese-making.