Like so many British Isles cheeses, Caerphilly was originally made by local farmers as a way to use up leftover milk. But beginning in the 1830s, the cheese became an extra source of income for the farmers and demand started to grow form there. Caerphilly was very popular among Welsh coal miners because its thick and protecting natural rind made it easy to eat with less than pristine hands. Sometimes the miners wrapped the cheese in cabbage leaves and brought it with them into the mines. The cheese was not only a source of nourishment, but the miners also believed it was capable of absorbing some of the toxic coal substances they inhaled daily.
Recently, the Trethowen family -- owners of Gorwydd Farm in the village of Llanddewi Brefi in Ceredigion, West Wales -- moved their cheesemaking operation to Puxton Park in Somerset, England. Gorwydd (pronounced "Gor-with") Caerphilly is made from raw cow's milk and is aged from nine to twenty weeks, during which time the cheese develops a thick, velvety, natural rind. Fresh, with flavors of lemon curd and a grassy earthiness reminiscent of steamed asparagus, Caerphilly's moist paste is straw-colored with a striking, distinctive strip of snowy white in its center.
Farm / Company: Trethowan's Dairy/Neal's Yard Dairy
Cheesemaker: Todd & Maugan Trethowan
Affineur: Neal's Yard Dairy
Milk Type: Cow
Milk Treatment: Raw
Aging: 9-20 weeks
Size(s): 8-pound wheel