New Ludlow Cheese Joins Ranks of Bestsellers

Ludlow Food Centre Cheese

The first two soft cheeses to be produced by innovative rural retailer the Ludlow Food Centre have proved so popular with customers that the in-house dairy is struggling to keep up with demand.

The ambiguously christened ‘Cheese with No Name’ and the uniquely shaped, rind-washed ‘Croft Gold’ were among the top ten best selling products over Christmas, with over 350 cheeses sold. As a result cheesemaker Dudley Martin is looking to double his current output while expanding the range to include two hard cheeses and, eventually, a blue.

Dudley, 38, who comes to the Food Centre from award winning Lightwood Cheese in Worcester, was given free licence to create a selection of original cheeses to be sold in the store’s delicatessen when he joined the team late last summer. Using 300 litres of whole milk a day, which he collects himself each morning from a nearby Estate farm at High Walton, Dudley separates and reserves the double cream to produce a mild, extra creamy, mould-ripened, Brie style cheese.

In their haste to gauge customer reactions with a series of December in-store tastings, the first Food Centre offering was released without a name and, after much deliberation while searching for an alternative, the quirky moniker has stuck.

The Croft Gold is made in a similar vein to the ‘No Name’ but shaped using square moulds and washed in a weak brine containing Herefordshire King Offa cider brandy every three days for up to four weeks, before being matured for a further month. The result is a golden soft cheese with a colour and texture redolent of Port Salut.

Scheduled for a spring unveiling is Dudley’s first hard cheese, a mellow, crumbly-textured wheel, closely followed by a clothbound Ludlow Cheddar, 600kg of which is currently maturing on beech racks for up to 12 months. With the Earl of Plymouth Estate dairy farms producing around 8000 litres of milk per day, the cheese making potential of the Food Centre is considerable and they are presently on target to produce 5 tonnes of cheese per annum.

Working in the Food Centre’s glass fronted dairy, alongside ice cream specialist Vivien de Haan, has been an eye opener for Dudley, not least because he works in full view of curious shoppers. He says, ‘It’s been brilliant to have the time to develop such original products and the fact we keep selling out means we’re having to increase production after only three months. Being watched while you work is a novel experience but the Food Centre is all about showing people where their food comes from and there’s nothing better than hearing them rave about a cheese you’ve laboured over for several months!’

The Cheese with No Name and Croft Gold are available now from the Ludlow Food Centre cheese counter.

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