Llaeth y Llan - award-winning yoghurt from the village of Llannefydd
PUBLISHED: 00:00 03 May 2016
How one farm in Llannefydd turned its surplus milk into a thriving business selling delicious yoghurt
The picturesque farmhouse with its whitewashed walls and grey slate rooftops nestles outside the small village of Llannefydd with striking views of the North Wales coast and the dramatic Clywydian hills.
It is here that Llaeth y Llan (The Village Dairy) has been perfecting its recipe for its delicious award-winning yoghurt for more than 30 years.
Gareth Roberts and his wife Falmai set up the business back in 1985 as a way to bring further diversification to their 50 acre farm.
Now the Village Dairy is in the hands of the next generation, brothers Owain and Gruff Roberts and their sister Llior Radford, while their parents remain directors of the company.
The yoghurt is supplied to shops all over Wales and the borders including Cheshire and has recently made its debut in Fortnum and Mason in London after it was showcased at a St David’s Day event and so impressed the buyers they decided to keep stocking it on their elegant shelves.
It’s come a long way since it was made on the family farm, admits 31-year-old Gruff.
‘Initially we just serviced the local community. We were a diary which started making cream and had a surplus of milk, so this was turned into yoghurt and as the yoghurt became more and more popular it became the core part of the business.
‘Now we source all our milk from local farms. We are fully diversified.’
The original unadorned yoghurt has been joined by 13 other flavours, from fruity ones such as black cherry, banana and forest fruit to indulgent variations like toffee and vanilla. There are some more unusual combinations too, like gooseberry and, in the larger sized pots, banoffee.
‘We actually started off with more flavours than we have now,’ reveals Gruff.
‘There were some flavours that were more popular than others and the yoghurt has evolved and over the years things like the sugar content has come down.
‘Nutritional values vary according to the flavour but the natural yoghurt has 37% fat, 8.4% carbohydrates and it’s got a 6.1 per cent of protein. It’s all bio live yoghurt but has a creamy, indulgent taste. Our yoghurt has always been a ‘live’ product, even before the pro biotic thing came about. Bio live is effectively healthy bacteria which aids digestion.’
A Great Taste Award bestowed by the Guild of Fine Food is a source of much pride for the family too.
‘It’s one of the biggest awards you can get in the UK and pretty well-known,’ says Gruff.
‘Our natural yoghurt won two gold stars in 2015 and we are hoping to do as well if not better this year.’
As well as selling the yoghurt in farm shops and independent stores around the region, the dairy raises its profile at various shows and events throughout the year.
They’ll be making an appearance at the International Food Festival in Cardiff from July 8th-10th and at the Royal Welsh, the biggest agricultural show in Europe from July 18th-21st, while closer to home they will be at Nantwich Food Festival from September 2nd-4th, as well as various agricultural shows throughout Wales.
‘It’s important for us to get our product out there and get people tasting it,’ says Gruff.
‘Then they can see how good it is.’