Things To Do in BalgowanSwissland Cheese
Where? Old Main Road, R103, Balgowan, Natal Midlands
When? Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and public holidays and school holidays from 09h00 to 16h30.
Closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Christmas and New Years day.
How? Call +27 (0)82 418-3440
How much? Free to browse
The natural splendour of the Natal Midlands is combined with the enticing allure of Switzerland on the Swissland Cheese Farm. Situated in Balgowan, KwaZulu-Natal, Swissland is all about fantastic cheeses made with the freshest ingredients. Some traditional methods are retained, while innovative flavours and combinations are part of the excitement of visiting here.
Established in 1992, Swissland is the brainchild and passion of Fran Isaac, who grew up on the farm and soon developed a love for the pastoral life and the fresh, tasty produce it yields. Today, the healthy herd of goats roam on the high hills and in the deep valleys of KwaZulu-Natal, producing cheeses that have won awards for their incredible taste and quality. Fran introduced new and exciting cheeses to South Africa at a time when very little was known about the possibilities, and the variety of cheeses available in stores was limited to very traditional cheddars and Gouda.
The Swiss-style chalet, pristine lawns and towering trees invite visitors to visit Swissland and experience the cheese-making process in a hands-on and interesting way. Milking takes place every day at around 15h30 between August and May, and is a delight for young and old alike to watch. The shop is open from Friday to Monday, and stocks the excellent cheeses produced here, as well as some other favourites.
Some of the iconic cheeses produced at Swissland are:
• Drakensberg – an ash-coated white cheese that is creamy and subtle. This has won a number of awards and is popular as a cooking cheese as well as an addition to salads.
• St Maure – a white cylindrical cheese that is soft and creamy with a pungent taste.
• Brie – a soft, tasty cheese that goes well with sweet preserves and a glass of dry white wine.
• Chevre – there are a number of chevre cheeses available in different flavours; ranging from herb to smoked.
• Pecorino – a firm, nutty cheese that is ideal for cooking and pastas.
• Isinyani – a mild, creamy cheese that is available in smoked or plain varieties and is loved by little ones for its subtle flavour.