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Ludlow Food Centre Wins Top Cheese Award (14th August 2014)

Ludlow Food Centre Wins Top Cheese Award

A Shropshire cheese maker has come out on top in a national cheese award.

The Great British Food Magazine’s Farm Produce Awards have been announced with categories including best steak, best cake and best sausage. Dudley Martin and Paul Bedford who are the cheese makers at the multi award winning Ludlow Food Centre were victors in the best cheddar category. They won with their Oakly Park Traditional Cheddar which takes its name from the Earl Of Plymouth’s Oakly Park Estate, where the Food Centre is located. All the milk used to make the cheese comes from cows reared on the estate making it a truly local product.

Hundreds of entries were received by the magazine from artisan producers all over Great Britain. Every entry was short listed based on its provenance, taste and appearance and the winners chosen based on a score out of 10. The cheese making duo from the Food Centre were the only winners from Shropshire and are proud to have been able to fly the flag for the county. Dudley says,

‘This is the first time we have won a major award for our Cheddar so we are really pleased. This year we have extended its maturation period from 12 months to over 18 which has really helped develop the overall taste. We have also introduced the use of calves rennet which gives the cheese a stronger depth of flavour.’

The judges at the awards commented on the Oakly Park Cheddar saying,

‘This very small batch cheese fought off competition from some of the UKs heavyweight Cheddars...Our judges loved the complexity of taste. A perfect balance of sweet, salty, tangy and sharp, with a wonderfully creamy texture and zingy aftertaste.’

In 2013 Dudley and Paul were awarded Britain’s Best Blue Cheese for their Remembered Hills Blue at the British Cheese Awards which suggests that the pair are leading the way in artisan cheese making at the moment. This year they have been experimenting with ewe’s milk cheese using milk from the Pitchford Estate just outside Shrewsbury. Their range now spans to seven cow’s milk cheeses and a planned four ewe’s milk cheeses which are being released as they come to maturity this year. Dudley says,

‘We have always wanted to stock a range of our own cheeses at the Food Centre. People like to have choice and they value locally produced food. Our aim is to deliver a variety of exciting and interesting cheeses that represent our style of cheese making. Cheddar is such a competitive category in the UK so to win a prestigious award like this is very humbling’