You know it’s going to be a good day when a parcel from The Welsh Cheese Company arrives. We’ve had a lot of fun testing out the very best cheese Wales has to offer. And we think that a perfect use for this selection, would be your Christmas cheese board. There’s something very special about cheese at Christmas, it’s a course all of its own. Now, this can be difficult when you’ve already sampled the luxuries of Christmas throughout the day so it’s important that the cheese you use at Christmas time is special. Remember, an idle stomach is strictly against the festive spirit, so soldier on you must!
Cardiff-based musician Tom Pinder – who plays the sousaphone in Welsh Supporters’ band The Barry Horns and the trombone for world famous performers such as Paolo Nutini – is about to embark on a new adventure after founding The Welsh Cheese Company, an online retailer selling the very best Welsh cheeses.
Tom decided to create the company when he realised Welsh cheese doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
“Over recent years I’ve been getting more and more interested in the sourcing and the quality of the food I eat. And as a non meat-eater I’ve been particularly interested in the dairy side of my diet. I’ve been eating a wide range of amazing Welsh cheeses from the delis in Cardiff, and local farmers’ markets, but I was frustrated that I couldn’t get all of the Welsh cheeses I’d come to love from one supplier, so I thought I’d do something about that and start a business that would bring together cheese from my 11 or 12 favourite Welsh cheese producers in one place,” he says.
Tom has a lifelong passion for cheese that goes back to his childhood growing up next door to a dairy farm in Somerset.
“About half a mile down the road there was another dairy farm that used to make amazing farmhouse cheddar, and you could knock on the parlour door, and eventually someone would come out and cut off a wedge from a huge truckle that sat on a wooden shelf in the corner of the room,” he says. “I’ve had a love of the sharp and complex flavours you get with a ‘real’ cheddar ever since.”
Since founding The Welsh Cheese Company, Tom has enjoyed getting to know the producers behind his favourite varieties. He is now keen to introduce more people all over the UK to these cheeses.
“The producers are so passionate about the cheeses they make. But Welsh cheese often seems to be a bit overlooked somehow. Some of the English cheesemakers are great at publicising themselves, and promoting themselves online, but some in Wales don’t seem to be as well known, despite often being even more critically acclaimed than their English counterparts.”
One of the most important parts of The Welsh Cheese Company’s mission is to tell people the story behind the cheeses it is selling. The website will have lots of information about all of its cheesemakers, and the farms that each cheese comes from.
“We’re working directly with producers, and buying direct from the farm, so we’ll be able to get cheese to the customers in the best possible condition,” adds Tom.
Tom isn’t stopping at cheeses, either. The Welsh Cheese Company will offer a glorious selection of other Welsh produce to compliment its cheeses.
“We’ll be offering a range of hampers and gift boxes, all full of the very best Welsh artisan food and drinks, to suit every budget. From gin to chutney, and from beer to chocolate, there will be something for everyone!”
You can find out more about The Welsh Cheese Company here.
Meet Tom Pinder
The Welsh Cheese Company’s founder Tom Pinder is well known in Wales as a founding member of the Welsh football team’s official supporters’ band, The Barry Horns. But his career in music has taken him on many other adventures. Including travelling the world with acclaimed Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini.
“It’s taken me all around the world,” he says. “The tour of the last Paolo album took us to New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, the USA several times, and most countries in Europe. Our last tour was to South America just a few months ago.” He plans to continue performing with Paolo as much as possible. As well as continuing to play with the Barry Horns at Welsh international football matches too.
“The Barry Horns has been a big part of my life over the past 7 or so years. When we started the band it was just a small group of close friends. Who had played in Cardiff bands together for years, but it’s grown and grown and been an amazing experience. The Euro finals in France last year were absolutely incredible.”
Tom has been working primarily as a musician ever since finishing his music degree at Cardiff University in 2002.
“During university I was in a couple of bands. And when I graduated I moved into a two bed house with the six other members of one of the bands. And we toured round Europe and the UK for a few years. In 2006 that band came to an end, and I decided I should try to get a proper job. I worked briefly in public affairs in the Bay. And then more music opportunities came along, so I started touring with Get Cape Wear Cape Fly. And then with Paolo Nutini, and that’s been my main job since then really.”
Alongside the touring. Tom also set up a music rehearsal studios business in Cardiff around six years ago. Called the Cardiff Arches. That’s still going strong and has been his main preoccupation when he’s not touring. With the new cheese business taking off he will be handing over the running over the studios to colleagues.
“I’m very excited about The Welsh Cheese Company. And it’s refreshing to be doing something outside of music. Although I remain as passionate about music as ever, and will always continue to play in bands,” he says.