19 YEAR CELEBRATION | www.cheesefestival.co.za

#6 Puglia Cheese


#SupportSmallCheesemakers: #6 #PugliaCheese

Introducing @PugliaCheese owned by Davide Ostini
Location: Parklands, Cape Town, Western Cape

We encourage you to join our #SupportSmallCheesemakers campaign and create some much-needed market exposure for our #agripreneurs. #Share their stories on social media, #comment to let them know we are #strongertogether, and most importantly #buySAcheese (details below)!

Agri-Expo in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture annually sponsors a number of small cheesemakers at the #SACheeseFest to showcase their hand-crafted products and treat your taste buds.

The Puglia Cheese story:

Puglia Cheese was born in 2010 with the idea to produce artisan cheese.  Puglia produces authentic Italian cheeses and is proud to have introduced new cheeses in South Africa, winning accolades locally and worldwide with their Burrata, Nodini and basically their entire cheese range.  Most of their cheeses are from the region of Puglia (the heel of Italy). They are now slowly introducing cheeses from other regions like Stracchino and mature cheeses like Tomino and mature goats’ cheeses. The business started with Davide and two friends from Italy, Cosimo and Fabio, one a master cheesemaker. Davide learned how to make cheese in the UK.  In the 90’s, he owned five Italian restaurants – a cheesemaker friend came to visit and Davide ended up training him as a pizzamaker who in turn taught him to make fresh mozzarella.

In a few years Puglia grew from only three to eight employees – today they employ 22 people. Puglia Cheese mostly employ untrained people from poor backgrounds – they believe in training people that otherwise would not have a chance to learn a trade. All their staff start at the bottom, working themselves up – once the staff member shows commitment, they start receiving training.

Their greatest success story, among many, is Ryno Strauss. He was introduced to Davide by his brother-in-law who is an elder in a church. Ryno had it rough for over 10 years and was part of a gang at the age of 27, at some stage living under a tree. When Davide asked him what experience he had, he proudly said: “I can make butter”. His smile and his neat appearance were striking. Davide remembers thinking how well he looked and his eagerness to work despite his rough living. It was a bumpy ride the first two months, getting him used to the working environment – Ryno struggled to follow orders and had a short temper.  Davide was quite hard on him, making sure he was the right guy for the job.  Soon his skill and natural ability of marketing and selling of the products showed.  As an encouragement, Davide took Ryno along to the Agri-Expo Qualité Awards Dinner – the awards function of the biggest dairy championships in Africa, where Ryno mingled with the guests at his table, making quite the impression. He quickly learned all about cheese and how to sell the product – sharing knowledge as far as he went – Puglia Cheese sales doubled since Ryno joined the team. Needless to say, Ryno is a great asset for Puglia, not only can he sell cheese, but he can also make cheese.  Today he is in charge of dispatch and stocktaking.

Another success story for Puglia Cheese is Priscilla, who has been part of the team since day one.  She started out as a cleaner, slowly working through the process of learning how to make ricotta, mascarpone, mature cheese and lately curding milk. Many SA Dairy Championships titles have been won with her products. Five years ago, Pamella joined the Puglia Cheese team – she is a great example of dynamite that comes in small packages.  Her stamina and willingness to succeed and quick thinking saw her rising from just a cleaner to head of production in less than four years. These two ladies are an irreplaceable asset to Puglia Cheese – both of them act as the first port of call for all the staff communication.

Davide is proud that many of their staff have been with them for many years – like Ntosh, their admin-secretary, can-do-it-all lady. She started as an office assistant, worked through the ranks.  For a long time, she was the only one in the office manning the phones, orders, invoicing and credit control. During this time, she studied accounting and SAGE pastel part-time online to better her skills and be promoted. A sad turn of events is that one of their star employees, Zuzu, tragically passed in a car crash on 26 December 2018. He also was a rising star and a trusted manager and friend. He was employed as a packer and worked himself through the ranks to become the floor manager and head of distribution.

Meet the team:

  • Owner – Davide Ostini
  • Office – Ntombentsha (Ntosh) Mboneli, Marambe Zvikomborero
  • Floor Manager and HR – William Mfene
  • Head of Distribution, Stock Control and Procurement – Ryno Strauss
  • Head of Packaging – Sinalo Gobo
  • Packaging team – Sinazo Madubela, Rhumbi Mwanaku, Sasha Chikwahna
  • Head of Production – Pamella Dzindikwa
  • First Cheesemaker – Priscilla Mangachena
  • Cheesemaking team – Noku Mabandla, Belinda Makoni, Mbulelo Mdzanga
  • Driver – Terrence Chembonga
  • Assistant – Karren Horonga
  • Sales – Erika Nienaber


  • Burrata: Burrata is part of the spun cheeses Fior di Latte as it is made with a thin Fior di Latte skin filled with Stracciatella – a mixture of whey butter, fresh cream, spices and ripped Fior di Latte mixed together. Burrata also comes in various flavours.
  • Nodini: stretched Fior di Latte knotted and shaped like a small knot.
  • Treccia: a Fior di Latte braid. Mozzarella shaped into an actual braid.
  • Provolone Silano: a semi-mature soft skin ‘Easter Egg’ shaped mozzarella. The big ball.
  • Fior di Latte and Bocconcini: classic round shaped Fior di Latte.
  • Sfoglia: a 30cm x 20cm Fior di Latte sheet. To fill with ingredients of your choice.
  • Smoked Scamorza: a small version of Provolone, smoked and hang for 2 days. The hanging balls.
  • Mascarpone: their very own authentic artisan Mascarpone cream.
  • Ricotta: hand-made Ricotta.
  • Ricotta Salata: sun-dried Ricotta covered in rock salt.
  • Stracchino-Certosa: a 2 days old soft sticky spreadable tangy cheese.
  • Filone: Fior di Latte salt-treated and dried for 48 hours to be used for Pizza.
  • ZIZZONA: Extra-large Fior di Latte Ball.

Where to buy:

Cape Town:

  • Ital Emporio – Table View
  • Granger Bay Market
  • Giovannis
  • Olive Branch
  • Camps Bay continental
  • Block Men
  • Arthur’s mini market
  • SPAR: Vredehoek, Sea Point, Cape Quarter


  • Tortellino D’oro
  • Fournos – Dunkeld and Bedfordview
  • Health Emporium – Honeydew
  • Impala fruit and flower – Craighall Park
  • Paolette Deli – Edenvale
  • PNP: Crowthorne and Craighall
  • Spar: Broadacres, Hobart, Blairgowrie, Craighall, Willoway, Bedfordview and Parkview

Contact them at:

davide@puglia.co.za / info@puglia.co.za or 021 556 7188/0623924592

#CheeseChat on social media:

#SupportLocal #BuyLocal #ProudlySouthAfrican #Cheese #CheeseLover #MoreCheesePlease #BuySAcheese

 #SupportSmallCheesemakers – click here to read more about all the small cheesemakers involved


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No Alcohol will be served to persons under the age of 18.