Cymru Culture

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Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheeses

(March 01, 2013)

Pant Mawr Cheeses

Making cheese has long since been a tradition in Wales, and in recent years cheesemakers in Wales have started to be recognised as real artisans. One of the leaders in this gastronomic resurgence is Pant Mawr Cheeses. Jason Jennings was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us how they began and about the range of cheeses and products they produce.


CC ... Pant Mawr Cheeses was established in 1983. What made you decide to start the company?

JJ ... The need to add value to our home produced milk by diversifying in to cheese making, as the farm is too small to be commercially viable.


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CC ... In making your products you use locally sourced milk. Environmentally responsible food is becoming more and more popular, don't you think?

JJ ... We do source our milk locally where possible. The cows' milk is sourced through a local farmer co-op.


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CC ... You specialise in traditionally made cheeses. Have you come up with any unusual taste combinations that have proved surprisingly popular?

PMC ... We do produce a cheese called Drewi Sant, which is sprayed with Welsh honey mead wine.


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CC ... Do you have a personal favourite?

JJ ... My favourite is Caws Preseli which is a soft white rinded welsh cheese.


CC ... Smoked cheeses are becoming very popular. As a cheese producer, does this broadening of people's taste and willingness to try something different represent an exciting opportunity for your company to move away from the traditional types of cheeses?

JJ ... Our smoked Cerwyn was the second cheese that we developed, in early 2000. It has since gone on to win a gold medal at the 2003 world cheese awards and has been one of our best sellers since.

 

CC ... The gift selections you produce are an excellent idea (and would make excellent Christmas/birthday gifts for cheese lovers). You also offer gift certificates. Do you think it is important for producers to diversify, to reach the broadest possible market?

PMC ... Of course it's important. In these tough economic times every sale is important no matter how it is achieved.

 

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CC ... The courier service is another excellent idea, ensuring that your produce can be enjoyed by people further afield. Was it important to see the business outside of Wales?

PMC ... It’s always nice to sell the cheese outside Wales and if we could do more of it we would.

 

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CC ... You also have an on-line shop on your website. How far as this extended your market?

JJ ... The on-line shop doesn't create as many sales as we would like, but it is a very good advert.

 

CC ... Food and cheese festivals are becoming more and more popular. Why do you think people have started becoming re-interested in the source, quality and taste of products, rather than simply focusing on price?

JJ ... When the farmers markets first started they were a good idea. But now we believe that there are too many, too regularly, which is diluting the market by increasing producers costs and reducing weekly takings. This, combined with the tough financial times, makes trading very difficult.

 

CC ... What are the long term plans for Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheeses?

JJ ... We at Pant Mawr Cheeses aim to keep making award winning cheeses and continue to run as a small family business. We aim to grow our on-line sales and increase the sales from our farm shop.


CC ... Jason Jennings, thank you.


 

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