Castell Gwyn Cheese

Vale of Clwyd MP, Dr James Davies has applauded a woman who has grown her love of cheese into an award-winning business after visiting the dairy she opened at her Rhuddlan home in 2021.   

Jackie Whittaker has always loved cheese. However, it was only after completing a three-day cheese-making course at the Food Technology Centre in Llangefni several years ago that she decided to turn her enjoyment of the much-loved dairy product into a business, and Castell Gwyn Cheese was born.

Starting out, Jackie rented a dairy in Llandudno, but during lockdown she took the business to another level by developing her own micro dairy in the grounds of her home.  

All the products she uses for her artisan soft cheeses are sourced locally with the milk coming from Mostyn Dairy and the honey from Dyserth. Local sheep’s wool has been used in the construction of the dairy, which was once a double garage, whilst the whey goes as feed to local pigs, to ensure there is no waste.

Jackie, who is originally from Preston in Lancashire, said:

“I attended a three-day cheese course as it was something different to do and I absolutely loved it. I really loved the science involved and my passion just grew from there.”

James paid Jackie a visit recently to find out more about the business after its products were chosen to be showcased at a ‘Taste of Wales’ event at Lancaster House in St James’s, London, to mark St David’s Day. The event was attended by diplomats, MPs from across Wales, members of the House of Lords and people from the food and drink sector in Wales, including chefs and journalists.   

James said:

“I was delighted that Jackie’s products were showcased at the Taste of Wales event, and I was keen to visit her to find out more about the business.

“What she has achieved in quite a short period of time is quite remarkable. She has turned what started out as a hobby into a thriving, award-winning business, having won both the Gold and Silver International Cheese and Dairy Awards with her Welsh Honey Cheese. Castell Gwyn Cheese is also a finalist in the Food and Drink Category of Daily Post Awards, which will take place on Thursday.

“I was extremely impressed with the dairy she has created at her home and the delicious cheeses she produces there – so much so that I have offered to try and host her products at Parliament.”

Jackie added:

“Creating my own dairy during the lockdown period was exciting and I am delighted with how everything has turned out.

“I am now keen to develop the business further. I would like to develop a hard cheese and work with more local businesses. I am also working to achieve my Master of Cheese Award. It is a really difficult exam but I am determined. I have just completed level two and started level three.”