Four South African artisan cheese farms every cheese lover has to visit
If, like me, you love artisan and farmstead cheese you will love these four farms and their produce.
Van Gaalen is situated at the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountains in a small community called Skeerpoort near the Hartbeespoort Dam. Wanting to introduce Dutch cheese to the South African market Annelies Van Gaalen established Van Gaalen cheese farm in 1994. Today Van Gaalen kaasmakerij still produces good quality Dutch Gouda in the traditional way. Van Gaalen sources fresh milk from local suppliers. Their cheese is matured on the farm which means there is a wide variety of ages and herb cheeses available.
When visiting make sure to
- Go on ‘The Van Gaalen Kaasmakerij Cheese Tour’
Van Gaalen offers tours for individuals and families on Wednesday and Saturday mornings at 10:00. Tours last 60 minutes and include a cheese tasting, as well as a cup of coffee and piece of delicious Dutch apple cake.
- Mountain biking, trail running and hiking
Van Gaalen’s trails offer great opportunities for mountain biking, trail running, hiking, horse riding and birding. The trails extend over 30 private properties and stretch over 100 kilometres. Ask for a permit at the Farm shop.
- Enjoy a cheese platter and a glass of wine
If you prefer relaxing to biking or running, then Van Gaalen has you covered. Enjoy a cheese platter under the trees of The Terrace Restaurant, or book a picnic on the banks of the Skeerpoort River. You will not regret it!
When planning a visit to the beautiful Magoebaskloof make sure to put a morning aside to spend at Wegraakbosch. Wegraakbosch farm is situated near the small town of Haenertsburg in Limpopo. The farm claims to be the lightest carbon footprint dairy farm in South Africa and it is easy to see why when visiting this special farm. The owners established the farm in 1986 after visiting an authentic Swiss dairy farm where they learnt to make cheese using traditional Swiss methods and live cultures. Today they produce a variety of traditional cheeses, which include Mutchli, Emmenthaler, Harvati, Tilsiter, Feta and several other cream cheese varieties. No machines are used in the cheese making process and the entire dairy is solar-powered. Wegraakbosch has an impressive vegetable garden that is tended by hand. The farm does not use pesticides ensuring that all their produce is truly organic.
- Book a tour
Book a dairy tour and learn all about the cheese-making process used at Wegraakbosch.
- Enjoy a Ploughman’s platter
Make sure you visit Wegraakbosch over lunch time. Their ploughman’s platter includes bread, cheese, and a glass of wine. Give yourself enough time to enjoy your platter while taking in the beautiful views.
The rolling green hills of the Natal Midlands is home to one of the best artisan cheese farms in the country. Swissland cheese was founded in 1992 by Fran Isaac. The green pastures and small herd of free roaming Saanen Goats transport you into another world.
Swissland Cheese produces a large range of goat cheeses, free of antibiotics and colorants. They have a wonderful range of cheeses, from the soft, fresh Chevre to a hard, mature Pecorino. My all time favourite is their smoked creamed cheese Chevre. It is to die for!
I have been visiting Swissland cheese for almost twenty years and I have never been disappointed. If you love cheese you will love this farm.
When visiting make sure to
- Enjoy a picnic
Get yourself a cheese platter and find a shady spot on the lawn. If the weather is inclement, you can enjoy your platter in the cosey Billies indoor picnic loft.
- Feed the Kids (that is the goat Kids)
Ask to feed the kids with a bottle. This is a real treat for human kids.
- Eat an ice cream!
Be sure not to miss out on Swissland Cheese’s famous goats milk ice cream. You might want to bring a cooler along to take some home with you.
This small, quaint shop and working dairy farm is a must when in the Underberg area. We stumbled upon it accidently while bumbling down the beautiful Drakensberg Garden Road. All the cheeses are made on the premises and they offer tastings free of charge. I especially enjoyed their garlic-Feta and quirky named ParmeSani. Another cheese you will want to take home with you is their Underberger Cheese.