'One place I chose seemed perfect until someone pointed out that there was a sheer 90ft drop just beside it, which I simply hadn’t noticed.’, Eventually they found Cavern 1, first carved out  in 1856, and began levelling the floors with picks and shovels ('as in Victorian times’), running in electric cables and building the wooden racks. 'I’d met Linda over the years,’ says Merrells, who is cheese-product technologist at Sainsbury’s. This winter’s rain flooded the lower levels of the mine, scuppering the train; it is now stuck halfway to the surface, meaning that every 20kg box of cheese has to be carried by hand down 122 uneven steps. Cwm Ystwyth is considered the most important non-ferrous metal mining site in Wales providing a premier example of mining heritage in Ceredigion. Though it is not the first time someone has thought of ageing cheese underground in  caverns, it is the first time on record it has been done in a slate mine in this country. Slate-cavern-aged cheddar, £2.50 for 200g or in blue-waxed blocks from £11.50 per kg on the deli counter, exclusively at Sainsbury’s, Wild-mushroom and cheddar oatmeal pancakes, Leek and roasted-sweet-potato soup with Welsh-rarebit croutes. 'I thought I’d be with them for a month,’ she says. Every few miles up and down the hills lie the skeletal remains of a pit head, rusting silently, majestic. Big Pit, Wales' working mine museum, is lending its mine shafts to a firm creating a Welsh cheddar cheese. We’re now researching the barometric pressure on the cheese at this depth.’. Our famous Pwll Mawr cheddar is aged 300ft below ground at the bottom of the mine shaft at Big Pit Mining museum in the World Heritage site ½ a mile away. So we rang the nearest one, which happened to be Llechwedd, and spoke to the managing director, Michael Bewick, who said it was the most exciting phone call he’d had all year.’. Grab a pack of this delicious cheese from our Gift Shop. The experiment began when two giants of the UK cheese industry, Win Merrells and Linda Lewis-Williams, got together over coffee to discuss cheddar. It is then transported from the Creameries to the Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog and left to age 500 feet underground. 'To visit the cheese is awe-inspiring, especially if you glimpse the grey roofs of the caverns, soaring cathedral-like above you', 'Water flows or drips constantly, ferns grow in unexpected pockets, and the floor, even when cleared, is a hazardous terrain of leftover slate', Llechwedd slate mins consists of 250 chambers, 25 miles of tunnel and 16 levels descending 1,800ft underground - and is home to 1,336 20kg boxes of cheese, Looking out from the Llyn peninsula, north Wales, From left: Win Merrells, Michael Bewick and Linda Lewis-Williams at Llechwedd slate mine, Bringing the cheese up through the tunnels, A speedy cheese pate made with wholegrain mustard and Worcestershire sauce, Make these with mature cheddar and sun-dried tomatoes for a great mid-morning snack or lunch, A delicious, warming dish with an umami-rich, creamy filling - perfect for a light lunch or supper, This rich vegetable soup is finished with crispy, fried leeks and served with mustardy cheese toasts, How to cook the perfect Christmas ham, from broth, to glaze, to leftovers, Brussels sprouts okonomiyaki style recipe, Roast Brussels sprouts with apples and bacon recipe, Gratin of smoked mackerel, horseradish, parsnips and potatoes recipe, Orange and cardamom Christmas Bakewell tart recipe, Apple and cranberry Paradise jelly recipe, Chicken, leek and parsley Charter pie recipe, Marmalade and whisky bread and butter pudding recipe, Baked pasta with pumpkin, spinach, ricotta and smoked cheese recipe. Cavern Cheddar has true provenance and its story is steeped in Welsh history. It was the nearest deep mine to Cardiff, and a reminder to travellers that they had entered the south Wales coalfield. ... graveyard found deep in a secret ... darkness in a secret location in Wales. In the mid-1700s Blaenau Ffestiniog was built to house the miners working in nearby slate mines. On an idyllic peninsula in north Wales lies an ancient smallholding built on land bordering the Irish Sea. Mining heritage. Fortunately, there is no sign of mice anywhere in the caverns – something that was a major worry. Working deep underground in the mines of Victorian Wales was a perilous profession. Now, actual slate is only a small part of its daily output. The dairy makes its cheese – cheddar, Red Leicester, Double Gloucester, Monterey Jack and Caerphilly – in an old factory outside Pwllheli, but this year it will upgrade to state-of-the-art new premises – lucky, as it has recently become the origin of an intriguing cheese experiment. Once every 2 weeks Gerry does a cheese swap. 'It slows the bacteria, adds flavour, reduces moisture and is a preservative.’. When I visit on a January morning, the beautiful, mossy, sodden, grey Welsh landscape sparkles in surprising sunlight. Having retired from a career in theatre and then run a B&B, he is busy transforming Llechwedd into a wonderland of zip wires; climbing routes; underground trampolines, weddings and tours; cafes; and… cheese. The cheese is made to a special bespoke recipe and matured to a minimum of 11 months. Merrells herself had spent 28 years at Marks & Spencer before taking early retirement  to renovate houses. If you leave it for another month, again there’s no perceptible change. Under the UK government elected in 1992, ownership of these then passed in 1994 into private hands, and Tower Colliery (near Hirwaun in South Wales), which had both a deep shaft (using a winding house to access vertically the deep coal veins, and a drift mine (boring horizontally into a mountain or hill to extract the coal) was run as a miners cooperative from 1994 until 2008. Nantgarw Colliery was one of the flagships of the National Coal Board. Since 1986 our family have been producing Multi award Cheese, such as the Cenarth Brie, soft, mushroomy, earthy, classic Brie flavours. Led by former miners you can discover what the mine was like as you descend 100 metres underground into it’s dark depths. View image of The Parys Mountain mine in Anglesey, Wales (Credit: Credit: Jeff Morgan 04/Alamy) However, he says, "a lot of these mines are very small, in … Experience the unforgettable beauty of the underground lake as the story of the slate miner's life unfolds. Located in the World Heritage Site of Blaenafon this former working mine opened as a museum in 1980. 48 Park Avenue, East 21st Street, Apt. The labels on the cheeses depict scenes from the town’s industrial past, but their connections with the town’s rich history run deeper than that: Pwll Mawr Cheddar is matured 300ft below ground at the bottom of a mine shaft at Big Pit mining museum. Between us, Linda and I have 40 years of experience in the cheese industry.’. This traditional ageing process takes place in original mining caverns which have been converted into cheese caves. Posted: 14/09/2017. We were inspired to develop a signature cheese that enhanced our great cheddar and made it into a truly delicious and different product. Open from 1 September 2020. Unity Mine at Cwmgwrach, in the Neath Valley, is due to begin production within weeks, taking on 60 workers. Prices (per person): Slate Mountain Adventure from £20.00 | Llechwedd Deep Mine from £10.00 | Quarry Explorer truck tour from £10.00 Stop off at the cafe for a hot drink or meal, or pick up a souvenir of your visit to North Wales at the amazing gift shop, entry to the site is … Nowadays coaling mining is merely a distant faded memory in most minds and of course the young cannot remember anything of … But disaster struck as work on Cavern 3 was beginning. https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-best-cauliflower-cheese-recipe-435733 You may opt out of our newsletter at any time. 'Five years later, I’m still there. 'We discovered that one month in the cave makes no difference; two months makes a little change in the cheese; but after three months it is notably different – the texture becomes smoother, closer and denser, and the flavour is more intense. Llechwedd (Welsh pronunciation: [ɬɛχˈwɛð]) is a visitor attraction near Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, Wales.It details the history of slate quarrying in the town and specifically the Llechwedd quarry in which it is located. Llechwedd has a small train that used to take miners up and down from surface to rock face and is now used for tourists, 'so, naturally, we wanted to store the cheese as near as possible to that’, Merrells says, 'but you get no change in the cheese if it’s stored too near the surface – it’s too warm and the pressure isn’t right’. Opened in 1911, it boasted two large shafts and, at a depth of 782.73m (856 yards), was the deepest mine in south Wales. A cheese matured in a 500 feet deep Welsh cave is to be revealed as a “wonder of the world” on Japanese TV. It is then transported from the Creameries to the Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog and left to age 500 feet underground. Up to 250 jobs are being created at the first deep mines to open in south Wales for three decades. He takes the cheeses to the Big Pit, ready for maturing and the miners bring up the batch which has been aging below ground for the past 2 weeks. Fanning out above the Welsh capital of Cardiff, these valleys are the coalfields of South Wales, narrow glens snaking their way south to north, from the Bristol Channel coast toward the Brecon Beacons. Wales was famous for its coal mining, in the Rhondda Valley, the South Wales Valleys and throughout the South Wales coalfield and by 1913 Barry had become the largest coal exporting port in the world, with Cardiff as second, as coal was transported down by rail. Big Pit National Coal Museum (Welsh: Pwll Mawr Amgueddfa Lofaol Cymru) is an industrial heritage museum in Blaenavon, Torfaen, Wales.A working coal mine from 1880 to 1980, it was opened to the public in 1983 under the auspices of the National Museum of Wales.The site is dedicated to operational preservation of the Welsh heritage of coal mining, which took place during the Industrial revolution. John Hughes’s family has been farming at Ynysgain Fawr (pronounced 'Unnis-gine Vowr’), on Llyn, for nearly 90 years, supplying milk to South Caernarfon Creameries since 1943. On leaving the train station, head to the roundabout in Blaenau Ffestiniog and follow the signs. The cheese is made to a special bespoke recipe and matured to a minimum of 11 months. A crew for Japanese TV network TBS followed the story of how Dragon cheese’s unique Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar made by South Caernarfon Creameries gets its unique flavour, by being matured in the Llechwedd slate cavern at Blaenau Ffestiniog. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. That formidable fromage know-how has resulted in an extremely good cheddar – a mature cheese aged underground in a slate mine near Blaenau Ffestiniog. A Blaenavon company which makes four types of cheddar says the temperature 90m (300ft) underground is ideal for its 40kg (90lb) blocks of cheese. Please read our data protection policy here. 'There wasn’t enough headroom on the train to take the wood, so we had to lug it down.’. ***NEW*** Welsh Slate Cavern Cheddar, infused with Penderyn Single Malt Whisky. The process has been adopted by other cheesemakers, including the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, but SCC is thought to be the first to try it in Wales. West Cumbria Mining won planning permission from Cumbria County Council on 19 March, 2019, to open a mine in Whitehaven – but, unlike others on this list, this will be a deep mine. It's the perfect souvenir of your day in North Wales! It wants to use the £165m Woodhouse Colliery site to extract one billion tonnes of coking coal – about 2.5 million tonnes annually – from under the Irish Sea. Contact Info. Mining is a very messy business: once a cavern has been excavated, you move on, leaving all the detritus, including large quantities of abandoned slate, behind. Human statue of a miner performs on the Marques de Larios pedestrian, in the historic center of Malaga, Spain Malaga, Spain - August 03, 2018. Cavern Cheddar has been developed in partnership with Slate Mountain to add a real depth of flavour to our Welsh Cheddar. Welsh coal mining history at Rhondda Heritage Park - By Cardiff Mummy Says. Owners of a nearby mine at Aberpergwm say they are close to accessing a large coal reserve, meaning up to 200 more workers will be needed. Using the train, they began experimenting, taking boxes of cheese down to 500ft below the surface, where there is a constant temperature of 6-7C. 304 London NY 10016. Introducing: Welsh Slate Cavern Cheddar with Penderyn Whisky. Though in popular parlance the name Rhondda has become synonymous with the mining district, the Rhondda itself is a dual-pronged valle… Visit the National Coal Mining Museum website for more details. Collier’s is recognised today for its unique character and a taste that sets it apart from other cheddars. Three years later, he is still saying it. This Cheddar has won the bronze medal at the prestigious British Cheese Awards. When the cheese surfaces after its spell underground, it is taken back to the creamery to be  cut into small blocks, encased in smart navy-blue wax and stamped with a seal – a thing of creamy beauty in which you can taste the distinct flinty flavours of the slate and the fresh grassy tang of  the Llyn peninsula. A miner puts on his hard hat and light in the lamp room of Tower Colliery deep coal mine at Hirwaun South Wales Malaga, Spain - August 03, 2018. New for 2018, Dragon Dairy has infused their award winning Cavern Aged Cheddar, with the equally incredible Penderyn Single Malt to make a delicious, new variety - available soon from our gift shop... Find out more about the cheese at dragondairy.co.uk. Email: youremail@site.com Phone: +1 408 996 1010 Fax: +1 408 996 1010 Entry is free. Book now for the early tours get a fantastic discount! The town now had a school and a church, and a population of over 11,000. Browse our selection of over 60 of Wales’ finest artisan cheeses made by carefully selected producers. Tragedy, it seemed, lurked around every corner. Collier’s was created on firm principles: to deliver the finest quality cheddar cheese, with a distinctive, long and powerful taste. 'You can’t make cheese without salt,’ Alan Wyn Jones, the managing director, tells us as we watch it being poured in by hand. The deepest mine in south Wales. 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