A brand new cheese made from British sheep’s milk by Dorset-based Ford Farm and which is so new, it hasn’t yet been given a brand name, has been awarded a coveted Gold Medal at the World Cheese Awards 2015.
The World Cheese Awards, which took place at the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC last month, is an annual competition which on this occasion attracted entries from 2,727 cheese producers worldwide.
Ford Farm won seven medals at the competition – the most awarded to a British Cheese producer. A Gold was also awarded to Ford Farm’s star performing brand – Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar.
The idea for the new sheep’s milk cheese came from Ford Farm Director, Mike Pullin, who holidays regularly in Spain. He wanted to see if he could challenge the Farm’s cheesemakers to create a cheese similar to Manchego, Spain’s most famous cheese, but in the heart of Dorset.
A small quantity of sheep’s cheese was trialled earlier in 2015, using the same traditional methods employed for the creation of cow’s milk cheddar but with milk sourced from local Frieslands and Polled Dorsets.
The process was performed almost entirely by hand and the cheese pressed into cylindrical moulds which were then bound in cheese cloth before being left to mature for around six months – the typical maturation period for a Manchego. “We were impressed,” says Martin Crabb, head Cheesemaker at Ford Farm. “But would the elite of the cheese world drafted in as judges for the World Cheese Awards agree?”
It seems they did. “This cheese seems to have hit the mark with its distinctive butterscotch colour, its sweet, lingering taste as well as its crumbly texture and we are delighted to have received this accolade.”