Located near Bapsfontein, Belnori is owned by Norman and Rina Belcher. Their cheeses are made from the milk produced by their own very lovable Swiss Saanen goats, most of which have been reared on the property. Both Norman and Rina are cheesemakers, and say that it’s difficult to distinguish exactly who makes what, though Norman takes care of the goats, ensuring that they’re in good health, while Rina sees to the finishing and packaging of their cheeses.

Their winning Kilimanjaro cheese is described as a curd-washed, truckle shaped cheese which has been matured for up to four months to allow the distinctive nutty flavour to develop. Woolworths, known as the home of award-winning cheese, introduced the Cheese Makers Challenge in 2011 to encourage small, local cheeseries to create new and exciting cheeses that would appeal to South African cheese lovers.

This year’s competition attracted a substantially higher number of entries than the inaugural competition. “We were very pleased with the increased number of entries this year,” says Woolworths Foods MD Zyda Rylands. “We love introducing new ideas and new flavours to our customers. We already offer over 130 cheeses, many of which are exclusive to Woolies. The Cheese Maker’s Challenge gives South Africa’s small cheeseries the chance to have their new cheeses added to that list.”