Back in 1996, Todd Trethowan had been working at Neal’s Yard Dairy, paying his way through college with a view to making cheese back at the family farm ‘Gorwydd’ in Ceredigion, West Wales. The art of traditional Caerphilly making had all but disappeared from the area, so it seemed a natural choice, make traditional Caerphilly in Caerphilly! Once that decision had been made, Todd managed to apprentice himself to the only traditional Caerphilly maker left in the UK at that time - Chris Duckett at Chris’s Somerset farm. For the next sixth months, Todd learnt everything he could (along with living in a caravan, fending off Llamas and whey butter making, but that’s another story) making traditional, handmade Caerphilly.
On returning to the family farm, Todd set about making Gorwydd Caerphilly, taking time to experiment with the recipe and process until he had the very first batch of Gorwydd ready to sell. Just four cheeses made up this first batch and these were sent off to Neal’s Yard Dairy in London with the hope that they would impress. They did and production started in earnest with Maugan joining the cheese making venture. Eventually the brothers were selling through independent cheesemongers throughout the UK.
Fast forward to 2013, Gorwydd Caerphilly was in full production and the cheese making was starting to outgrow the family farm. The brothers were keen to find somewhere that would allow them to build their own dairy and source milk from one single herd of cows. They had a great milk supply from various farms around them in Wales, but wanted to create a partnership with one farm to ensure consistent quality, to continue using raw (unpasteurised) milk and if possible, for the farm to be certified organic.
In 2014 they found that site at Puxton, only 5 miles from the town of Cheddar and from where Todd had started his cheese making journey.
Once the new dairy was built, and being only 5 miles from Cheddar, the brothers couldn’t resist having a go at making a traditional cheddar cheese, especially as the history of Cheddar and Caerphilly making in Somerset and Wales had been closely linked.
By the end of 2017, the first batch of Pitchfork Cheddar was made and by 2019, the Trethowan Brothers were accepted into the Artisan Somerset Cheddar Presidia, one of only three cheesemakers to receive this award from the Slow Food Foundation. Pitchfork Cheddar went on to win ‘Best British Cheese’ and be voted 4th Best Cheese in the World at the 2019/20 World Cheese awards.
Today, deep in the North Somerset Levels at the dairy on Puxton Court Farm, the Trethowan Brothers and family continue to hand make organic, raw milk Gorwydd Caerphilly and Pitchfork Cheddar, using traditional methods that have been part of British cheese making for hundreds of years.
Is to encourage everyone to experience eating cheeses that have been made by hand, using traditional methods and processes that take time, care and attention to detail.
We aim to keep learning and sharing our experiences and knowledge of how we make our cheese with our customers and fellow cheesemakers and mongers.
We want to be part of a community that continues to practice, share and grow the methods and traditions of our Great British cheese making heritage.