Food NI member City Cheese, an artisan cheese maker, has launched a Gouda-style goat’s cheese.
The new handmade cheese, developed by City Cheese founder Christo Swanepoel, has been matured over six months and is now being rolled out to delis and foodservice in Northern Ireland. “It’s a natural, semi soft cheese that’s handcrafted slowly and left for six to eight months to mature to develop a natural rind,” he says.
“While it’s very definitely a goat’s cheese it has a mild, creamy flavour,” Mr Swanepoel adds.
Mr Swanepoel, a South African chef now resident in Northern Ireland, has extensive experience in creating different cheeses, including raw cow’s milk products, and has won local and national awards for taste and quality.
The new goat’s cheese is produced by hand by Mr Swanepoel at the company’s small creamery in Ballywalter in Co Down using a Gouda recipe.
He is bringing the distinctive flavours of his native South Africa and especially the Dutch influences there to the local artisan cheese scene. He is the only artisan producer of goat’s cheese in Northern Ireland.
Mr Swanepoel, who trained initially as a gourmet chef in Pretoria because of his love of food, has been resident in Northern Ireland for around 10 years. He decided to explore artisan cheese making as a career direction. “I’d been keen on cheese in South Africa and learned a lot about Dutch cheeses from my wife and her parents. This led me to look at the market and to identify opportunities about artisan cheese,” he says.
“I started making samples of different styles of cheese for friends to taste. The feedback was immensely positive,” he says. “Cheese-making is an important and developing sector in both South Africa and Holland, and I grew up enjoying cheese there,” he adds.