The women that we do business with all embody the values and guiding principles driving Sol’s Foods on a daily basis. The first three esteemed producers in this list are excelling and collecting awards in the dairy industry, while Lexi Bird has created something sumptuously sweet over at Ma Mere Confections in Cape Town. Here’s a summary of their respective culinary journeys as they continue to blaze trails and provide for their communities.
Belnori Boutique Cheesery
As the owner of Belnori Boutique Cheesery in Bapsfontein, Rina Belcher knows a thing or two about making dairy delights that are impossible to find anywhere else. She started out making cheese part-time with husband, but as demand for the product skyrocketed and their herd grew above 65, Rina left the corporate world behind her to focus on experimentation and creating the wondrous cheeses we know and adore her for today.
She picked up her first award at the South African Dairy Championships in 2004 and has been scooping local and international accolades ever since.
The Belnori Boutique Cheesery is situated on a fifteen-acre Black Wattle plantation in Bapsfontein.
Cream of the Crop
Maria van Zyl
Most of Maria’s childhood was spent on her family farm in Jonkershoek, where her love for cows and dairy farming was born. After a baking apprenticeship, a degree at the University of St. Gallen and an internship in the Italian Alps with a dairy farmer, Maria’s dream to create a committed value chain has come full-circle in Robertson.
Cream of the Crop butter is the product of milk from grass-fed, free-ranging Jersey cows from the Langvallei farm, and it has garnered interest from foodies around South Africa.
Gay's Guernsey Dairy
Gay van Hasselt
From humble beginnings in 1990 when Gay was milking three cows in a stone kraal, to 2022 where Gay’s Guernsey Dairy continues to collect local and international awards, this brand has become a fully-fledged institution for its growing herd of loyal fans. Gay’s team is committed to producing full-cream, raw Guernsey milk of the highest quality and that commitment hasn’t ever looked like wavering for 32 years and counting.
Situated in Prince Albert in the Karoo, the dairy has become a meeting point for locals and visitors alike, where they can sample an assortment of fabulous handmade dairy products and get a real taste of farm life. All the products are made using full-cream, raw Guernsey milk from Van Hasselt’s herd of happy cows.
She believes that the core of Gay’s Guernsey Dairy’s success lies in the quality of the raw milk used, which makes their products deliciously creamy and steeped in natural flavour.
Lexi’s Cordon Bleu training from the Silwood School of Cookery, combined with a degree in Design & Art Direction at the Red & Yellow School, has inspired her to conceptualize and design a brand that churns out delicious creations with a high-end aesthetic to boot.
It all started in Lexi’s home kitchen back in 2011 when she supplied caterers and sold produce from her trestle table at the Saturday market. In the decade and more that has followed, Ma Mere has grown organically and evolved into a boutique retail store and thriving household name.
Ma Mere is a candy-loving confectionery that offers a collection of gourmet nougats, fudges, macarons, brittles, marshmallows and Turkish delights. All of them are outrageously delicious.