Tag Archives: cheese

New business klaxon! Welsh Cheese Company brings the finest Welsh cheeses TO YOUR DOOR!

How exciting is this! The brand new Welsh Cheese Company (run by a founding member of the awesome Barry Horns) is launching on Monday! They’ll be selling the very best artisan Welsh cheeses online through their website, working directly with 12 cheese producers, and stocking over 50 cheeses. They’re also doing a subscription service called Clwb Caws and a range of hampers and gift boxes – just in time for Christmas! 

Cardiff-based musician Tom Pinder – who plays the sousaphone in Welsh Supporters’ band The Barry Horns and the trombone for world famous performers such as Paolo Nutini – is about to embark on a new adventure after founding The Welsh Cheese Company, an online retailer selling the very best Welsh cheeses.  You can check out the produce at www.welshcheesecompany.co.uk, or on Twitter @welshcheeseco. 

WHY CHEESE, TOM?

Tom decided to create the company when he realised Welsh cheese doesn’t always get the attention it deserves:

“Over recent years I’ve been getting more and more interested in the sourcing and the quality of the food I eat, and as a non meat-eater I’ve been particularly interested in the dairy side of my diet.
I’ve been eating a wide range of amazing Welsh cheeses from the delis in Cardiff, and local farmers’ markets, but I was frustrated that I couldn’t get all of the Welsh cheeses I’d come to love from one supplier, so I thought I’d do something about that and start a business that would bring together cheese from my 11 or 12 favourite Welsh cheese producers in one place.”

Since founding The Welsh Cheese Company, Tom has enjoyed getting to know the producers behind his favourite varieties. He is now keen to introduce more people all over the UK to these cheeses.

“The producers are so passionate about the cheeses they make, but Welsh cheese often seems to be a bit overlooked somehow. Some of the English cheesemakers are great at publicising themselves, and promoting themselves online, but some in Wales don’t seem to be as well known, despite often being even more critically acclaimed than their English counterparts.”

One of the most important parts of The Welsh Cheese Company’s mission is to tell people the story behind the cheeses it is selling. The website will have lots of information about all of its cheesemakers, and the farms that each cheese comes from:

“We’re working directly with producers, and buying direct from the farm, so we’ll be able to get cheese to the customers in the best possible condition.”

Tom isn’t stopping at cheeses, either: The Welsh Cheese Company will offer a glorious selection of other Welsh produce to compliment its cheeses:

“We’ll be offering a range of hampers and gift boxes, all full over the very best Welsh artisan food and drinks, to suit every budget. From gin to chutney, and from beer to chocolate, there will be something for everyone!”

Meet Tom Pinder, he’s great

The Welsh Cheese Company’s founder Tom Pinder is well known in Wales as a founding member of the Welsh football team’s official supporters’ band, The Barry Horns, but his career in music has taken him on many other adventures, including travelling the world with acclaimed Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini.

“It’s taken me all around the world,” he says. “The tour of the last Paolo album took us to New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, the USA several times, and most countries in Europe. Our last tour was to South America just a few months ago.” He plans to continue performing with Paolo as much as possible, as well as continuing to play with the Barry Horns at Welsh international football matches too.

“The Barry Horns has been a big part of my life over the past 7 or so years. When we started the band it was just a small group of close friends who had played in Cardiff bands together for years, but it’s grown and grown and been an amazing experience. The Euro finals in France last year were absolutely incredible.”

Tom has been working primarily as a musician ever since finishing his music degree at Cardiff University in 2002.

“During university I was in a couple of bands, and when I graduated I moved into a two bed house with the six other members of one of the bands, and we toured round Europe and the UK for a few years. In 2006 that band came to and end, and I decided I should try to get a proper job. I worked briefly in public affairs in the Bay, and then more music opportunities came along, so I started touring with Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, and then with Paolo Nutini, and that’s been my main job since then really.”

Alongside the touring, Tom also set up a music rehearsal studios business in Cardiff around six years ago, called the Cardiff Arches. That’s still going strong and has been his main preoccupation when he’s not touring. With the new cheese business taking off he will be handing over the running over the studios to colleagues.

“I’m very excited about The Welsh Cheese Company and it’s refreshing to be doing something outside of music – although I remain as passionate about music as ever, and will always continue to play in bands,” he says.

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A Welsh food safari through Cardiff

Last week, I took part in my first ever food tour of Cardiff – a food safari, no less, taking in some sights, history, and a lot of tastes of the fair capital. Having lived here for as long as I have, I sort of presumed I had explored all of the culinary boltholes in the centre of it. How wrong I was!

We met Sian (who was leading the tour) along with fellow tour-attendees, Doug and Val in the cafe at the castle. Doug and Val had lived here between 1985 to 1990, then moved away. You can imagine how different the city is today to when they’d been here originally.

Cardiff Castle

Although we didn’t eat anything at the castle, Sian gave us a potted history of the castle through the ages. One of my favourite anecdotes was about how it used to be the Royal College of Music and Drama (as the council initially didn’t know what to do with it when it was handed over by the Butes) – Sian had music lessons there as a child. Imagine having music lessons in a castle!

Anyway, this was our first stop: bara brith and tea at Pettigrew Tea Rooms.

Pettigrew Tea Rooms
Pettigrew Tea Rooms

Andrew Pettigrew was Head Gardner for the Third Marquis of Bute , and the tea room is named in his honour. I am ashamed to say we ate the bara brith so quickly I didn’t manage to get a photo … (that’s the sign of some good cake!). It was really good too – super moist!

We then wandered through Castle Arcade. Although I must have walked through here hundreds of times, it was the first time I ever noticed the stag in the mirror (above the exit that goes out onto High Street – see below!)

Cafe Barker, Castle Arcade
Castle Arcade
Castle Arcade
Castle Arcade

It was then into Cardiff Indoor Market, taking a leisurely look around the stalls (I spotted some very tasty faggots and peas in a tupperware box that took my fancy!), but we stopped outside Ashton’s. You’ll know it as the fishmonger that’s at the entrance to the market from the Hayes side. Ashton’s is also the oldest limited company in Cardiff (fact!), and you can buy laverbread and cockles from them to eat there. Sian had baked some oatcakes and brought them with her, to make us small ‘tapas’ style morsels. They were absolutely delicious!

Ashton's at the market
Ashton’s at the market
Sian preparing our tasters
Sian preparing our tasters
Fish faces
Fish faces

We then went on to try some cawl and Welsh ciders! This was a definite high point. (My favourite cider was the Gwynt Y Ddraig medium dry, in case you ever want to take me out for a drink).

A bowl of cawl!
Cawl at Yr Hen Llyfrgell

From there, we went down to the bay. Doug and Val were most excited about this part of the tour, as the bay had been in its very early re-development when they left. No Millennium Centre, no Senedd, no barrage.

To give you some perspective, this is what it would have looked like when they left …

cardiff_bay_prior_to_the_building_of_the_cardiff_bay_barrage

This is what it looks like now (!)

Big wheel and Pierhead building, Cardiff Bay

(obviously the locations are slightly different, but you get the idea)

We wandered around the bay a bit, and Sian imparted more historical knowledge. I live in Butetown but rarely spend time just wandering around, chewing the fat. In this case, chewing on the amazing Welsh cakes from Fabulous …

Millennium Centre
Millennium Centre
Fabulous Welsh Cakes
Fabulous Welsh Cakes
Sian outside Fabulous Welsh Cakes
Sian outside Fabulous

Our final course was in Ffresh. They’ve recently refurbished the inside with a load of copper coloured trees – beautiful!

Also the food. OMG the food. We stuck to deserts – I had a very nice and light iced pear, followed by this amazing shared cheese board. Per las … my downfall …

cardiff_food_safari-026

Iced pear
Iced pear
Food tourists!
Food tourists!

After dessert, I was so full I pretty much rolled down towards the water and into the Princess Katherine, one of the water taxis that runs between town and the bay. There’s actually an onboard audio guide that gives you information about the places you’re going past as you chug past them.

cardiff_food_safari-020

Sailors
Sailors
Aboard the Princess Katherine
Aboard the Princess Katherine

“We have many spectacular mountains, a stunning coastline and a little rain – that all helps to create an ideal environment for growing produce which results in award-winning food and drink!” says Sian, who’s been running food tours for a few years now (she also reads the news and used to present the weather, so gets recognised occasionally while you’re walking around with her!). She’s also fluent in French, Italian, Spanish and German as well as English and Welsh (feel like you messed around too much in school?? Me too!).

It was wonderful having Sian to guide us – she is incredibly knowledgeable about Cardiff and so passionate about food – she told us about everything from Welsh vineyards to the history of Italian food in Cardiff. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our food safari – and ended up discovering some proper hidden Cardiff food gems. Cockles in the market will be on the itinerary for every trip we ever make to town, forever!

Find out more about Loving Welsh Food

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