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Dalewood - Delectable Estate cheeses

The delicious cheese in your box this week is from Dalewood Fromage – an artisanal farmstead cheesery situated in the Cape Winelands. As an authentic farm product produced from the milk of Dalewood's single Jersey herd, they take great care in their approach to biodynamic farming and the making of their cheese. Petrina Visser, who runs the farm, and her wonderful team believe “it all begins with the soil and our cheese is made in the pastures”. 

As Dalewood’s focus is to start with the soil, they have embarked on a new journey – a bio-dynamic approach to farming, focusing more than ever on the restoration of topsoil, implementation of regenerative land management practices that enhance biodiversity, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration and land productivity. They practice no tilling of the soil and have no mechanical intervention. In 2019, they planted additional pasture species for their cows – this focuses on a high diversity of plants, photosynthesis and microbial activity. This means their Jersey Cows get the best and most delicious plants to eat – they spend their days roaming in green pastures that have no artificial fertilisers, insecticides or weed killers. The cows never receive growth or milk production increasing hormones, nor do they receive any unnecessary antibiotics – happy cows make the best cheese.

Dalewood’s recipes are the brainchild of cheesemaker Rob Visser, who after years of experimenting, and time spent in France sniffing out traditional cheese making secrets and countless cheese tastings, launched the Wineland range. Dalewood only uses milk produced by its own Jersey cows, and so they take great pride in an authentic estate cheese that has provenance above the rest – all their cheeses are uniquely Dalewood and uniquely South African! They also promote their cheese as a ‘wine’ cheese as cheese and wine have been considered natural allies for as long as people can remember. The Vissers believe that the Wineland Camembert complements almost any wine and all their cheeses are suitable for vegetarians as they contain no preservatives, flavourants or colourants. 

As Dalewood strives for authentic estate cheese – where all their cheeses come from one herd grazed right there on their farm – they have kept their production relatively small for a dairy farm and, up until now, supplied the hospitality industry. However when lockdown came around, most of the hospitality industry came to a rapid halt. They have since had to adjust their model and think on their feet as they cannot just stop the milk taps. Their Jersey herd of over 240 cows have to be milked on a daily basis – they have had to expand their offering selling fresh jersey milk, cheese and estate yoghurt, but have also had to rapidly dry up their cows as gently as possible. 

Here at UCOOK Market Box, we are thrilled to have them on board and give them another opportunity to reach passionate food lovers who care to know where their food has come from and the passionate people behind it. You will find their Wineland Camembert in your boxes this week, which you can enjoy in a myriad of ways. We are also hosting a live UCOOK Along on Saturday at 3:30pm where Pertrina Visser and her daughters will talk more about the farm and show us how to make one of their baked camembert recipes to enjoy as an afternoon snack. 


                                Dalewood Camembert