Snowdonia Cheese Company

Origins of Snowdonia Cheese Company

Established in 1993, the Snowdonia Cheese Company grew out of founder Will Hughes' passion for creating quality artisan cheese on his family's dairy farm in the Conwy Valley. Using fresh milk, time-honoured techniques, and a dedication to exceptional flavour, Snowdonia launched its flagship product - the award-winning Snowdonia Black Bomber Cheddar. Made in small batches from an original 5kg cheese "truckle", Black Bomber's depth of flavour and creamy-crumbly texture turned it into one of Britain's most iconic cheeses. By the early 2000s, demand for Snowdonia's handmade cheeses was growing. Additional varieties like Perl Wen Brie, Red Devil vintage Cheddar, and the rare blue cheese Perl Las were added to the lineup. But it was an invitational to create an anniversary cheddar to celebrate Prince Charles’ 50th birthday in 2002 that put Snowdonia on the international map. Their creation - Green Thunder - earned rave reviews for its complex earthy flavours, spearheading future speciality variety experimentation. The last decade has marked significant milestones for the Snowdonia Cheese Company. They opened new production facilities in Llanrwst to increase capacity and began offering factory tours and tastings. Numerous top industry accolades were awarded including multiple British Cheese Awards and the coveted title of Supreme Champion British Cheese for Black Bomber in 2018. Snowdonia cemented itself as the future of artisanal cheese in Wales through a commitment to timeless practices paired with boundary-pushing innovation.

Local Dairy Farming and Milk Quality

From lush valley pastures in the Conwy region to farms nestled in the heather-clad hills of Snowdonia, the cheesemaking process starts with traditional animal husbandry methods. Local farmers allow their cows and sheep to graze freely outdoors on pesticide-free grasses and wildflowers that lend unique flavours to the rich milk. The animals also feed on hay harvested from the region during winter, maintaining a diet sourced from the local terroir year-round.


Sustainable Agriculture Practices

Snowdonia Cheese Company partners with over 200 family-owned dairy farms across North Wales to source the high-quality milk that serves as the foundation for its award-winning cheeses. As champions of sustainable agriculture, Snowdonia provides guidance and support to help these farmers implement regenerative practices that benefit the land, animals, and local communities. Priority is placed on rotational grazing techniques that leverage the managed movement of livestock to promote pasture health. Planned periods of grazing and rest allow grasses to regrow, increasing resiliency, soil nutrient levels, and the pasture’s ability to sequester carbon. With grazing animals serving as natural fertilisers, the need for synthetic chemicals is reduced. Rotational grazing has been shown to increase farm productivity over the long term by up to 40%.


Many partner farms have also installed renewable energy technologies like wind turbines and solar photovoltaic systems to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Some utilise biodigesters that convert organic waste into methane gas used to generate electricity onsite. These initiatives reduce overall environmental impact while benefiting the farmer through energy self-sufficiency and lowered utility costs. Snowdonia also encourages collaboration through the development of agricultural cooperatives where farmers share equipment and facilities. By pooling resources, small family farms increase efficiencies while retaining their independence. Cheesemaker apprenticeships and training programs further invest in the preservation of farming livelihoods and traditional practices crucial to maintaining Wales’ verdant agricultural landscape.


From Grass to Cheese: Quality Processing

Exceptional cheese starts with exceptional milk. Snowdonia Cheese Company utilises a gentle, optimised production process designed to retain the organic integrity of the locally sourced milk. Supplied by partner farms within a 30-mile radius, the milk is highest quality having come from grass-fed cows and sheep raised on pesticide-free pastures and hormone-free diets. Upon arrival, the milk is tested and then pumped into small custom-built cheese vats that allow precise control over curd cutting, cooking, draining and milling – critical steps that impact moisture levels and acidity. Snowdonia hand-ladles each batch, believing manual dexterity essential for achieving desired textures. Technology enables monitoring of time, temperature and pH factors to guarantee consistency between wheels. The curds are hand-pressed into moulds, then whey is drained away over long periods before wheels are moved to climate-controlled ageing rooms. Here, cheeses rest on planks of Shesham wood that wick excess moisture. Shelves are periodically turned to account for minor environmental variations. As cheeses mature, they develop complex flavours influenced by the local terroir – what cheesemakers refer to as “the taste of place.” The result is world-class cheeses bursting with regional character.

Cheese from the Snowdonia Cheese Company

Cheese from the Snowdonia Cheese Company

Visiting the Cheese Factory and Tasting Rooms

Upon entering the tasting room at Snowdonia Cheese Company headquarters, visitors are immediately surrounded by the rich aroma of ageing cheese and the visual splendour of enormous wheels gracefully maturing on wooden shelves. Friendly guides offer insights into the history, process and variety of cheeses produced on-site.


Touring the Production Facilities

Snowdonia Cheese Company invites visitors to tour its production facilities, getting an insider’s view of the complex, meticulous craft of premium cheesemaking. Knowledgeable guides walk you through the entire process, from the state-of-the-art VAT rooms where milk morphs into lumpy curds to climate-controlled ageing cellars lined with shelves of wheels slowly developing deeper flavours. You’ll peek inside innovative cheesemaking vats custom-built to Snowdonia’s specifications so guides can demonstrate the cutting and cooking of curds. Learn why these early steps are most vital for determining moisture levels, acidity and final texture. Compare modern stainless steel drained with gigantic wooden draining tables of yore. Around a corner, find cheese pressed firmly inside circular moulds before heading off for brining. Then it’s onward to the finishing kitchens where wheels get scrubbed, larded, wrapped in wax and whisked away for nurturing in the maturation rooms. The tour concludes by retracing steps past Wellington-booted entrepreneurs hand-packing just cut-and-waxed truckles. An enlightening glimpse at technology and tradition merge to create some of Britain’s most award-winning cheeses.


Tasting Bar and Shop

A key highlight of visits to Snowdonia’s home base is a stop at the tasting bar and cheese shop. Friendly mongers slice samples from irresistible chilled blocks of cheddar and Chester, explaining backgrounds behind less familiar offerings like the rare Y-Fenni Caws sheep milk cheese. Visitors can curate a customised tasting flight or opt for thoughtfully compiled platters beautifully presented with fruit, nuts, bread and artisanal crackers. Just beyond lies the cheese shop, ceiling-to-floor shelves lovingly stocked with waxed truckles, perfectly packaged gift boxes and enticing cheese accompaniments like fruit compotes, tangy piccalilli and premium charcuterie meats. Fridges overflow with cheese dreaming up meal ideas like pairing the smoky Red Storm Cheddar with lentils or seeking out recommended wine partners for the crumbly Shropshire Blue. Beyond cheese, find local honey, jars of Colman’s mustard powder and speciality Welsh goods. It's a cheese and food lover’s paradise, tempting even the most determined dieter.


Cheese and Wine Pairing Experiences

For visitors seeking the ultimate indulgence, Snowdonia Cheese now offers artisanal Cheese & Wine Pairing Experiences within their cosy tasting rooms. Guests are guided through a flight of 5 iconic Welsh cheeses from the smooth Crowdie cream to the bold Black Bomber cheddar. Snowdonia’s resident cheese sommelier selects the perfect varietal wine to complement each cheese's unique flavour profile and textures - highlighting characteristics from nutty or grassy notes to sweetness, saltiness and spice. Pairings range from sparkling Blancs de Blanc wines and rich buttery Crowdie to New World oaked Chardonnays that stand up to Black Bomber’s intensely robust punch. Dessert wines like Muscats match beautifully with blues tasting of almond and pear. Session sizes are intimate to enable plenty of discussion regarding regional influences and ideal serving suggestions for home entertaining. It's an unparalleled cheese and wine adventure perfect for date nights, travellers and corporate team building.


Cheese from the Snowdonia Cheese Company

Cheese from the Snowdonia Cheese Company

The Welsh Food Centre at Bodnant Estate

In addition to its Llanrwst headquarters, Snowdonia Cheese Company operates a visitor centre at Bodnant Welsh Food near Conwy. Nestled amidst the lush gardens of the Bodnant Estate, this popular agritourism attraction offers a delightful setting to learn about Welsh food and farming.


The Gardens and Grounds

Spanning over 80 acres, the magnificent formal gardens of Wales’ Bodnant Estate provide a spectacular horticultural backdrop for visitors. Originally laid out in 1875, the Italianate gardens have flourished under 5 generations of stewardship by the McLaren family. Meander along magnolia tree-lined walkways and around meticulously clipped shrubbery and rose gardens. Ascend narrow paths into the Dell - a secluded gorge where a waterfall rushes down giant moss-covered cliffs towering overhead. Seasonal floral displays erupt in vibrant bursts of colour from March’s swathes of camellias and azaleas to autumn’s fiery leaves and Hollywood-red pyracantha berries. The 55-meter-long herbaceous border contains a kaleidoscope of perennials like lavender and salvia interspersed with unusual specimens adding textural intrigue. While stunning year-round, Bodnant Gardens is ablaze in spring when 80,000 rhododendrons erupt in riots of pink, purple and red. Towering Monkey Puzzle trees add prehistoric drama while steamy tropical plant houses give a glimpse into non-native worlds.


Farm Shop and Eateries

Bodnant Estate champions farm-to-table dining across its eateries and shops. Produce travels only yards from the 80 acres of organic farmland to featured placements on menus and shelves. For appetites big and small, The Pavilion Tearoom looks out over manicured lawns and the Dell gorge serving traditional Welsh cream teas with fruit scones, clotted cream and Bodnant’s own jams. Heartier lunch fare ranges from Welsh rarebit made with Snowdonia cheddar to herb-crusted Bodnant lamb. The Hayloft Restaurant sits in a converted 19th-century stable block plating garden-fresh salads and estate-reared meats often harvested that very morning. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame gorgeous views of the historic five-arched Pont Y Jan bridge crossing the River Conwy. Shoppers can browse the well-stocked farm shop offering vegetables, artisanal cheeses, jams, chutneys, charcuterie and handmade gifts. It’s farm-to-table perfection perfected over decades of McLaren dedication.

Cheese from the Snowdonia Cheese Company

Cheese from the Snowdonia Cheese Company

Gift Hampers and Cheese Accompaniments

Snowdonia Cheese Company offers an enticing selection of gift hampers brimming with its award-winning cheeses, heavenly Welsh biscuits and artisanal accompaniments. beautifully wrapped in ribbons and rustic paper, they make for delicious edible presents.


Tailor-Made Hamper Customisation

Snowdonia Cheese Company allows customers to fully customise gift hampers to match the lucky recipient’s tastes. Select from over 15 varieties of cheddar, crumbly Cheshire, Shropshire blue and more to build an ideal cheese trilogy. Supplement with artisanal accompaniments like handmade oatcakes, sweet onion relish, fig paste, premium charcuterie meats or nut selections. For those with a sweet tooth, add Welsh shortbread, chocolate drizzled cake bites and fruity preserves. Customisation extends through personalisation extras engraving names on cheese slicers or hand embroidering gift tags. Choose from rustic wood and willow or glossy hat boxes adorned with satin ribbons in the recipient’s favourite hue. Have the package gift-wrapped or select one of Snowdonia’s handwritten note cards personalised with cheese storage advice from one of their experts. It’s tailor-made gifting where attention to detail ensures your curated selection arrives picture-perfect.


Luxury Presentation Extras

Beyond just cheese and food, Snowdonia helps customers create luxury gift box presentations with premium branded extras. Choose sleek Welsh slate labels engraved to identify cheese selections. Handsome teakwood boards, glass domes and ceramic cheese trucks make elegant bases for serving. Accompany cheeses with brass-handled slicers and pronged fondue forks for dipping bread cubes. The ultimate prestige touch is customising the 16-page guide titled “An Introduction to Fine Cheeses” nestled inside each hamper. This pamphlet outlines optimal cheese storage along with tasting notes, wine pairings and serving suggestions. Have pages foil-stamped with company logos or special messages making it a keepsake honouring the gifting occasion. With such an upscale presentation and dedication to detail, recipients will be eager to showcase their cheese parcel like the ultimate artisanal trophy.


Nationwide Delivery Services

No matter if the recipient resides in Wales or Scotland, Snowdonia Cheese Company will ensure gift hampers arrive properly packaged to maintain freshness. Local delivery within 24 hours prevents cheeses from spoiling. For national delivery, insulated shipping containers and cold packs guarantee cheeses reach their destination chilled ready for enjoyment. Shipments come with personalised gift messages or handwritten note cards from Snowdonia’s cheese experts. These charming touches provide usage instructions so the recipient can easily identify cheese varieties and know in which order to enjoy them. Consumers can rest assured that Snowdonia’s white glove treatment will take the stress out of long-distance gifting. From curating content to getting doorstep delivery, it’s bespoke convenience at its finest.

Cheese from the Snowdonia Cheese Company

Cheese from the Snowdonia Cheese Company

Award-Winning Cheeses

From the rolling green hills of Snowdonia to cheesemongers' shops worldwide, the Snowdonia Cheese Company has won universal acclaim for its commitment to traditional cheesemaking and innovative new varieties.

  • Black Bomber Extra Mature Cheddar → The cheese that put Snowdonia on the map - Black Bomber boasts nearly 20 years of consecutive wins from the British Cheese Awards to the Global Cheese Championship. Handcrafted in traditional truckles, it ages slowly for a minimum of 12 months. The texture begins creamy and crumbly, growing intensely nutty and developing crunchy calcium crystals as it ripens into a dark Umber Hue. Beautifully balanced with a lingering finish, it’s little wonder Black Bomber is considered Britain’s most legendary cheddar.

  • Perl Las Welsh Blue Cheese → A rarity even in Wales, Perl Las is a lush blue cheese made from rich Penllyn milk. Penllyn sheep graze the heather-dotted hills of the Snowdonia National Park munching wild herbs and flowers that lend the cheese its characteristic peppery punch. Aged around 8 months in Snowdonia's cellars, it develops an internal blue marbling that provides lovely pockets of spicy and sweet contrast to the lush smooth texture. Multiple awards attest - when you find the pearl blue, cherish it!

  • Perl Wen Welsh Brie → Perl Wen proves world-class brie isn't limited to France. Made locally in Caernarfon, this double cream brie captures homemade quality with its bloomy rind wrapping a molten core. Mild at first bite, it crescendos in intensity with flavours of mushroom and buttered toast. The perfect balance of salt and sweetness makes it ideal for cheeseboards alongside fruit, nuts and wheat crackers. Perl Wen bested English and Irish counterparts to be the Champion Brie at 2013’s British Cheese Awards.

  • Red Storm Red Leicester → While Red Leicester has been produced across Britain for centuries, Snowdonia's take involving a longer ageing time sets it apart. Their delicious Red Storm matures for over 12 months allowing funky, farmyard notes to develop. Expect a complex aroma with each slice revealing savoury beefiness rounded out by tangy fruit. The rich red paraffin wax rind gives way to an interior ranging from strawberry pink to deep wine red streaked with fine blue veins. A British classic made exceptional through patience and skill.


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