19 YEAR CELEBRATION | www.cheesefestival.co.za

#8 Klein River Cheese

#8 #KleinRiverCheese
Introducing @KleinRiverCheese owned by Mags and Peter Baleta
Location: R326, Stanford, 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 Klein River Cheese story:

Klein River Cheese is a family-run business that has been crafting cheese for more than 20 years on the Farmstead situated near Stanford, an art and foodie heritage village, surrounded by a lazy, meandering river, lush forests and grey-cliff, jagged mountains. The farm is also the home of the Baleta family since March 2015. They are dedicated to ensuring that we live and work in tune with our environment, community, and Farmstead.

A little bit about our History

Klein River Cheese started out as a dairy farm back in the day, bottling their own milk. They slowly nurtured and built up their herd of Friesland cows and were supplying the surrounding areas with fresh milk and cream. Over the years the milk prices fluctuated forcing management to investigate an alternative use for the milk. They studied the market and decided that there was a gap for proudly South African produced hard cheese. In 1995 they used their surplus milk and started experimenting with cheese for the first time.

A Swiss/German cheese maker helped to set up the factory. He later taught a local blue cheesemaker, Jacko van Beulen, to make the uniquely South African hard cheese, our flagship cheese known as Klein River Gruberg. In the following years, the cheese as well as the cheesemaker, won numerous awards and the cheese factory grew. Jacko is to this day still our cheesemaker and has extensive knowledge and experience in cheese craft. He merely looks at the milk and instinctively understands its quality and freshness. He has processed more than 15 million litres of milk at Klein River Cheese.

The calf shed was renovated into what we now know as The Deli, where guests come to taste and purchase cheese as well as a variety of locavore products. We offer delicious cheese platters and picnics that can be enjoyed on the banks of the river.

Our Purpose

Klein River Cheese, based in Stanford, creates and promotes South Africa’s leading artisan cheese. We exist to unleash the inner artisan in every one of us. Our cheese collection inspires chefs and romantics, nature lovers and healthy families. Klein River Cheese is not only about our products, it’s our culture. Our handmade, hand brushed, hand-cut cheese is a vehicle to join the artisan way of life. Are you ready to join the proudly South African artisan cheese movement?

The team: 

      • Pete and Mags Baleta – owners
      • Raymond Siebrits – Manager –
      • Nelleke Ferreira – Financial & HR Manager – Started September 2015
        When I applied for the position at Klein River Cheese, I was told they need a “boekhouer”. Fresh out of audit, I have never submitted a VAT return in my life, and thought I was overqualified and wrong type of experience for the position – I would be bored within 3 months. Little did I know what challenges a small-medium sized company can hold. Almost 5 years later – and I am still waiting to see the day that I am bored, still waiting for that “I have it all figured out”-feeling. Sure – but what about my dream of going into corporate governance and sustainability (KING V, ethics etc), but then I realised what a privilege it was to work for an ETHICAL, entity LIVING these values. An honour to be on the front end of sustainable farming, and to help ensure responsible corporate dealings. I just decided: why work for a corporate giant, to whom you are just a number, offering the best years of your life to shareholders you don’t even know, and who surely do not care for you. Why wait until you’re retired to live the laid back, quality life? Why not now? So, I gave up traffic and all the glamour the city has to offer, for peace of mind, for a sense of belonging, for farm, for family, for LIFE – because this is LIVING!
      • Juliana Marziani – Quality Control and Marketing Manager – Started July 2019.
        My career started at KWV, Paarl where I worked from 1992 until 2000, but my true passion for Food Safety & Quality disciplines started in 2004 when I worked for Heinz Foods in their Supply Chain department. Between 2008 and 2010 I worked in New Zealand as Quality Assurance Manager for a small Company, European Master Butcher where I gained experience in both High Risk, butchery, fresh Produce plants within the company. Coming to Klein River Cheese and joining the Family owned business is like having the best of both worlds. I get to do the work that I love and at the same time I am blessed with the working environment, the lovely Klein River Farmstead. Being part of the cultured strong team at Klein River Cheese has been amazing from the start. Although we are a relatively small company, we do the ordinary in an extraordinary way with the owners and Management leading by example. My other portfolio of Marketing Manager is extremely rewarding, being responsible for our product and brand “image” and being our Company’s brand ambassador makes me feel real proud, I can’t help to talk about or fabulous Klein River Cheese wherever I go.
      • Paula Wessels – Office and Logistics Manager- Started October 2014.
        My involvement and passion goes a lot further than my roles and responsibilities. I am actively part of our Cheese Deli and Picnic team as well working with the public and visitors to our beautiful Farmstead. From an admin and logistics side what I find most rewarding is seeing our delivery vehicles packed and ready for dispatch, our driver equipped with all relevant documents and route planning.  Managing the office while having a beautiful view onto the farmstead eases the normal stress of office work. I love giving my best for Klein River Cheese!!
      • Matthys Swart – Pasteurisation Plant Operator – Started March 2015.
        My passion and interest in Cheesemaking started in 2006 when I worked for Caledon Dairy where we produced Cheddar, Gouda and Feta Cheese. At Klein River Cheese I am responsible for raw milk pasteurisation and inhouse laboratory testing, and I have a real passion for what I do. Being a Cheesemaker trainee is extremely rewarding and I am looking forward to becoming a master Cheesemaker one day. I recently completed the Woolworths IBL Food Safety Training and have stepped into the Quality discipline within the Company which I really enjoyed. I start each day with a positive attitude and one of gratitude.
      • Jacko van Beulen – Cheesemaker and Factory Manager – Started March 2008
        My career in Cheesemaking started in Napier making blue cheese, feta, cream cheese and camembert. In 2006 before joining Klein River Cheese I went to Europe where I worked in various factories and gained practical and theoretical experience.The previous owner of Klein River Cheese approached me while working in Napier and asked me to join Klein River Cheese as Cheesemaker. I still look back at the time when I came to Klein River Cheese and was told we will make cheese of 1000 Litre a day which at that time was much more than what I was used to. What I like most is to see the result of my cheese crafting skills and how it is accepted and well enjoyed. I am a firm believer that either love it or leave it, in my case I Love it!
      • Clement October – Assistant Cheesemaker and Affineur – Started February 2009.
        I strive to make and deliver the best quality cheese and provide ultimate customer satisfaction, create a positive working environment within the production team.I take good pride and satisfaction in having been able to master the art of cheesemaking. It has been an interesting and rewarding journey.
      • Alvino Booysen Cheese Production & Maturer – Started February 2018.
        I have learned and accomplished a lot since I started working at Klein River Cheese. My ambition is to learn and become a Cheesemaker.
      • Ricardo Ali – Driver and Dispatch Assistant –  Started August 2009.
        A normal day for me starts with early morning drives to the dairy farms with the Klein River Bulk Container truck, my responsibilities with collecting raw milk are to perform testing prior to milk receiving as part of our food safety requirements. Back at the farm I oversee to the safe transfer of the milk from the Milk truck into Pasteurisation and assist in Dispatch on the days I am not on the road doing deliveries. I am told that I am the most patient person and colleague, and I honestly believe that is due to the nature of my work. I travel quite far distances per week to deliver our Cheese, leaving the farmstead early mornings with a full load and taking in the beauty of nature on my route must be the secret. I am passionate about Klein River Cheese, enjoy the serenity of the farmstead and the amazing smell of artisan cheese in our Maturation rooms.
      • Johan Greyling – Front of House Manager The Cheese Deli – Started in November 2018.
        My Company focus is customers, to provide excellent service and give our guests who visits our Farmstead the opportunity to learn our culture and the process of Cheese Making. I enjoy working with my team, enjoy the farm, animals and of course of wonderful artisan Cheese but the favourite part of my job is experimenting with new ideas and getting everyone involved. To be a leader who encourages and motivates my fellow staff members and my team who by now are like family to me. We have an amazing team with mutual understanding and goals to and we strive to continuously improve our knowledge and experience in all areas of the company and our Cheese range. “If you enjoy your job, you never have to work a day in or life” – I love my job. 
      • Louise Baadjies – Cheese Deli Assistant – Started September 2008.
        The best thing about my work is meeting and greeting of visitors to The Cheese Deli and educating them about our wonderful Cheese.  I enjoy baking and trying out new recipes and love expanding my knowledge and sharing it.
      • Maria Dam – Cheese Deli Assistant and Cleaner – Started July 2016.
        I love learning new things in and around the Cheese Deli and meeting interesting visitors from around the world. I am always keen to help out in Production, dispatch department.


Brushed Rind Cheese

      • Gruberg – Young (3 months matured), Mature (6 months matured), Vintage (12 months matured) A traditional brushed rind cheese that reveals rustic, earthy & nutty notes.
        Gruberg is our flagship Swiss-style cheese and is made for the discerning cheese lover. Handcrafted on our farmstead since 1994.
      • Stanford Oak Smoked 4 months matured – It takes 18 hours to smoke this cheese using an age-old cold smoking technique. A little goes a long way. Awarded the best smoked cheese in the world at the World Cheese Awards 2016 – 17. Winner of the Woolworths Cheesemakers Challenge in 2014.
      • Stanford 4 months matured – named after the village we call home, Stanford is a sweet, tangy & nutty cheese. This French-style cheese was inspired by inside secrets of the French art and science of cheesemaking.

Washed Curd Cheese

      • Danbo 1 month matured – A young, aromatic cheese with a creamy texture that is soft and smooth. Loved by young, old and those in between. Danbo’s versatility adds excitement to any dish.
      • Havarti 4 months matured – A cheese with a velvety, creamy texture & full-flavoured umami impressions. The cheese that everyone loves! We dare you to try it and not love it!
      • Overberg 5 month matured – A unique press & curd-cutting process creates a creamy, mature cheese with a rich, robust flavour. Produced by hand in our tiny 1300 L vat, this cheese defines artisanal and hand-made. Savour in its raw form.
      • Raclette 4 months matured – The fruity, earthy and umami flavours ooooooze out when melted. Raclette’s name is derived from the French word, racler, which means “to scrape”. Once the cheese hits the heat, scrape onto your favourite dish! Light that fire, we’ll bring the Raclette.

Hard Cheese

      • Grana 1 year matured – A strong, crumbly cheese with a nutty, fruity flavour and matured for up to a year. On the farmstead, we eat Grana on its own… a wooden board, cheese knife and wedge of Grana and you’re on your way!
      • Parmesan1 year matured – Aged for a year, this hard, crumbly cheese has flinty, fragrant characteristics. This cheese is delicious grated and sprinkled over every dish. And we mean every dish!

Young Cheese

      • Leyden 1 month mature – Full fat semi-hard cheese with caraway seeds which adds an aniseed-flavour & an unexpected cooling effect. We lightly cook the caraway seeds to ensure that the dormant flavours in the seeds are unleashed into the body of the cheese. The culture used in this cheese plays on the cheese texture and never disappoints.
      • Colby 1 month matured – Inspired by family, this young cheese has a light texture & a tart, caramel finish. This cheese defines ‘All-purpose’. Can be used grated, wedged, melted, on its own and slices wonderfully. Kids love it!

Where to buy:

      • Western Cape: Woolworths, Checkers, PnP, Food Lovers Market, selection of Spar Stores, Delis and farmstalls.
      • Nationwide: Woolworths and PnP Stores
      • Online: Woolworths, PnP, Checkers and Buyfresh.
      • The Cheese Deli: on Klein River Farmstead, open to the public 9am to 4pm Mondays to Saturdays

 Contact them at:

028 341 0693
082 587 0982

 #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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