Updated: Jul 2
Have you tried unpasteurised cheese? You may be sceptical and think it’s unsafe, but Caws Teifi have 39 years of experience making raw milk cheeses behind them, and they know just how to do it right.
In 1981, co-founders John, Patrice and Paula moved to Wales from the Netherlands, with a 500 year old recipe for gouda, and dreams of setting up an organic, self-sustaining farm. Starting their cheese production in 1982, they are now the longest established artisan cheesemakers in Wales, and are Britain’s most highly awarded artisan cheesemakers, having won countless awards at The Royal Welsh Show, The Nantwich Show, The British Cheese Awards and The World Cheese Awards.
So what is raw milk? The majority of milk in the UK is pasteurised which means it is heat-treated to kill off harmful bacteria. Raw milk isn’t, it goes straight from the cow to the bottle. Although pasteurising milk can kill harmful bacteria, it can also kill off good bacteria. When this good bacteria is left in the milk, it is thought to have a number of health benefits for the gut biome and research has shown that it can help conditions like eczema. At Caws Teifi, the milk they use comes straight from an organic farm to their production site in as little time as possible to ensure the milk stays at the right temperature so that harmful bacteria doesn’t develop and the milk doesn’t need to be pasteurised. The milk for Caws Teifi’s cheese comes from Sally and Garry’s organic farm in Llanboidy. They keep their raw milk safe by running an exceptionally clean and hygienic farm, and the cows’ teats are cleaned between each milking. Sally and Gary run an organic pasture-fed system, reducing antibiotic usage by 96%, and have removed synthetic fertiliser and the use of agro-chemicals so their milk is of the highest quality. Every batch of milk is also tested for bad bacteria, so you know that the products that make their way into your home are safe.
This all adds up to an expensive process, but Caws Teifi thinks it is worth it for the benefits they say raw milk has for your health, the environment, and the quality of the taste of the products the milk is used to make. Raw milk uses a significant reduction in energy compared to the energy needed to heat and cool milk to pasteurise it. The heat used on pasteurised milk can destroy the taste by burning the lactic sugar in it, so raw milk has a much richer and more intense flavour than pasteurised milk because the flavour doesn’t get damaged. Caws Teifi explains on their website that just like eating raw vegetables is more nutritious for you than cooked ones, so is milk. However, there are certain groups of people that are advised not to have raw milk such as pregnant women, infants and people with weakened immune systems, but the rest of us free to enjoy Caws Teifi fine selection.
Like many other businesses, the past year has seen a growth in online sales for Caws Teifi but their sales in shops have declined. Sales have also been lost as shows haven’t been able to take place, although Caws Teifi is hoping that restrictions will ease enough by September to allow them to attend the Abergavenny Food Festival. Caws Teifi recommends trying their creamy halloumi or their tangy Celtic Promise cheese.
Order from their website at https://www.teificheese.co.uk/ or call them on 01239 851528