When Martin Crabb set out to create our Extra Special Wookey Hole Cave-Aged Goat’s Cheese, his mission was simple − to change people’s perceptions of goat’s cheese.
‘It was a challenge, but we did it,’ says Martin, who’s based at Ford Farm in Dorset. ‘The cheese has a clean, citrusy flavourand firm, creamy texture, without the “goaty” taste others have. When people try it, they often say, "I don’t usually go for goat’s cheese – but that’s amazing.”’
And they’re not the only fans. Martin’s cheese won Super Gold at the 2016 World Cheese Awards and he now makes 160 tonnes of it every year.
Leading a team of three cheesemakers with over 100 years of experience between them, Martin explains that the secret of their success goes back to a rather unusual method used in the 1600s. First, they take fresh milk from a herd of goats in Taunton and remove the curds, which are formed into large blocks known as truckles. These are then wrapped in muslin cloth and left 150m underground in the Wookey Hole Caves in Wells, Somerset.
‘The cave conditions are ideal – 11C and with 100% humidity,’ explains Martin. ‘This keeps the cheese moist and ensures it doesn’t dry out. It also absorbs ground water,
so you get a really sweet, nutty, earthy flavour.’
The cheese is perfect for cooking – try using it grated instead of Parmesan for pasta with a twist. But Martin’s favourite way to eat it is simple. ‘I love it in a wholegrain sandwich with butter and pickle.’