The secret to high quality cheeses is in the techniques used in their production. Sundale Dairy, the largest privately owned dairy in the Eastern Cape, applies similar principles to the making of their cheeses. According to CEO, Pierre van Rensburg, “we elected to invest in bespoke equipment designed specifically to emulate the traditional methods of making cheese so that we can retain the sweetmilk qualities of our cheeses.”
Mass produced cheeses lose their sweetmilk properties as a result of priority being placed on decreased production times. These mass produced cheeses are compressed to expel the water and in so doing, they lose their flexibility. According to Van Rensburg “that’s why we have opted to produce our Gouda by applying a natural process. The cheese is placed in brine for two days so that the salt and moisture is naturally leached from the brine, keeping the cheese soft and making it a true sweetmilk cheese”. Their Cheddar is produced in the old method of “cheddaring”. The curd is cut and mixed in again – it is not compressed to expel the water. The delicate flavour and colour of the cheeses is attributed to the milk from pasture fed cows, all within a 50km average radius of the facility and therefore can be distinguished as from a clearly defined geographical area. If a cow becomes ill and requires antibiotics or other drugs its milk cannot be used.
The only ingredients allowed are cow’s milk, lactic acid bacteria, natural colourant and salt that enhances the flavour of the cheese. No other additives are used in the manufacturing process with the result that the final product is fresh, pure and natural cheese.
Sundale produces cheddar and gouda which is distributed through Checkers, Pick’n Pay, SPAR and OK Foods stores. Their Cream Cheese is produced for catering purposes.