Blaenafon Cheddar Company

Local food producers can put the Brecon Beacons on the map

Award-winning cheesemaker says Welsh food can be a major draw for tourists.

Susan Fiander Woodhouse knows a thing or two about local food and even more about selling it. Her family-run business, The Blaenafon Cheddar Company has won a string of local, regional, national and international awards and she says their success is based upon “telling a story” about her cheeses.

Susan’s most famous cheese, Pwll Mawr (Big Pit) is “a mature cheddar with a bite into the past”; it is matured at the bottom of the Big Pit mine shaft.  Her ‘Blaenafon’ cheese is coated in blue wax to represent the colour of Blaenafon Pottery, which was produced in the 19th Century.  Capel Newydd (meaning New Chapel) is covered in a green wax (the colour of growth) and has a hint of white wine and elderflower.  And there is a traditional oak smoked version flavoured by Black Mountains Smokery in Crickhowell and can be eaten with with Craddock Crackers from Brecon.

All the cheeses are covered in wax, to give them a shelf life of up to five months, many of them brightly coloured to attract the eye. And they are flavoured with a wide variety of Welsh foods: Celtic Spirit Whiskey, Brains beer, Taffy Apple Cider and more.  All the ingredients come from Wales.  Blaenafon Cheeses can be purchased in Cashells in Crickhowell, The Dragon, Welsh Venison Centre and the shop at Sugarloaf Vineyard. They are now also supplying Morrisons in Abergavenny.

Susan says her relationship with Crickhowell is very important: “We’re trying to attract visitors from outside and locally to come to these beautiful little places.  We’ve got a very close relationship with Crickhowell and The Dragon. We will take visitors to The Dragon for food and then they can go to Cashells so they can find out where the meat came from. They like to know about the farmer in the Brecon Beacons and the herd on the side of the mountain.  It’s amazing to have that passion between all of us promoting such amazing products and produce locally.”

And Susan says that food tourism is changing: “Holidays aren’t just ‘bucket and spade’ holidays anymore, they are about giving people an experience and allowing them to be part of the village for a moment or two. We work with Coach tours coming in from Europe. We give the tourists a ‘Taste of Wales’ three course lunch with sausages from Crickhowell and faggots and all the vegetables come locally.  So, we’re giving the visitors coming into Wales a really, really interesting day and telling the story further. This then spreads back and we’re now getting repeat visits from coach tours.”

Blaenafon Cheddar is still up and running, despite COVID-19. Continue to support your local food businesses!

Article and photographs by Tim Jones, As You See It Media


Blaenafon Cheddar Company

Address 80 Broad St, Blaenavon, Pontypool NP4 9NF
Telephone 01495 793123
You can buy or eat this food here
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