Ludlow Food Centre’s dairy manager Dudley Martin has spent the past two years piecing together clues and titbits of information to resurrect an extinct cheese, known as ‘Shropshire’.
Dudley has a passion for classic British territorial cheeses and his inspiration for his latest cheese came from a piece of historical information regarding an old dairy in Ludlow. Dudley was unable to find a definitive recipe in the historical documents he studied, so he looked at known similarities to Cheshire cheese. Records gave indications as to the size of Shropshire cheese, which would have fermented naturally as a result of the raw milk microflora – there were no starter cultures in the 18th century! Dudley has made two seasonal variants using natural colourants, carrot juice and marigold, which were used commonly from 1750 to 1800, when Shropshire cheese was in its heyday.
Dudley said, “Many people have asked me why I decided to resurrect Shropshire… I think curiosity is the most important attribute of a cheesemaker! I’m very proud of this region and its food, so when we discovered Shropshire had its own forgotten cheese with a 350-year history, we were keen to learn as much about it as we could. I’ve discovered some fascinating stuff along the way, and the process has taught me so much about British cheesemaking history.”