Product of the week: Gorwydd Caerphilly
Ned of Gorwydd Caerphilly tells us about this particularly fine Welsh cheese
Caerphilly is one of the great Welsh cheeses, named after the south Wales town of Caerphilly, in whose market place it was first sold. Although there is no set recipe or geographical restrictions on its production, it is still closely associated with Wales and will always be a young, fresh, cows' milk cheese.
Gorwydd Caerphilly at Borough Market sells one of the world's finest Caerphillys. It is made by the Trethowan family on Gorwydd Farm outside the village of Llandewi Brefi, Ceredigon in west Wales. Todd Trethowan started making Caerphilly in 1996, and the cheese is now made by Todd's brother Maugan, while his wife Kim oversees the maturation. Central to Gorwydd Caerphilly's appeal is the fact that it is made in a very traditional way, using unpasteurised milk, which gives it genuine complexity—a long, structured flavour that develops on the pallet. It is also made with animal rennet, which contributes to the creaminess of the cheese. The curds are cut and worked by hand—a laborious method, but one that gives a wonderful, moist texture.
Gorwydd is clothed in a velvety grey rind, which develops as the cheese matures in an old stone barn on the farm. The natural mould is indigenous to the farm, which means that a Caerphilly made to the same recipe on a farm down the road would look and taste different. The rind is eminently edible, with an earthy, mushroomy flavour, while the creamy layer beneath it has a rich, vegetal and sometimes mustardy flavour. The centre is quite different, with a crumbly yet moist texture and a bright fresh acidity.
"One of the things I love about the cheese is that as a living product, it is always changing," says Ned. "The cheeses vary markedly from season to season depending on whether the cattle are out on pasture or in the barn eating sileage. Even day to day changes in temperature, humidity or the mood of the cheese-maker can affect them. This makes opening each delivery a bit like Christmas for me as I wonder what I'm going to find in the box: great, noble, snowy white cheeses, velvety grey ones or pink-rinded, pungent beauties."
A good Caerphilly is a great all-rounder. "Gorwydd's mild flavour appeals to many pallets, but its unpasteurised complexity makes it a great cheese board cheese," Ned continues. "It's also nice to cook with—Gorwydd Welsh rarebit is my betrothed's birthday breakfast of choice."