Cheddar cheese has been lovingly made in Lockerbie for around 80 years now. Set in glorious countryside and snuggling up to the left bank of the River Annan, today’s premises was opened by the Queen in 1975 when it moved lock, stock and barrel from its original site in the middle of town.
The master cheesemakers here pride themselves on their traditional skills which are blended with a steely insistence on the importance of the production process. “It’s essentially about process control,” announces Cheese Production manager Craig Hodgson. “You have to hit the right level of moisture, acidity and salt to ensure you get the best quality of Cheddar.”
Lockerbie Cheddars are matured for up to 12 months to deliver a beautiful balance of sweet and savoury notes. With a creamy mouth-feel to complement the clean flavours, these are moreish Cheddars with ‘a wee bit of bite’.
Although heritage is crucial to the Cheddars made here, the creamery doesn’t shy away from technology. Indeed, a scientist by training, Craig has embraced the latest advances in production techniques in order to deliver absolute consistency of his distinctive cheeses.
And it shows, not just in the superb flavours but also in the awards he receives each year. “We’ve won the Best Scottish Cheese in a number of shows so far in 2016,” Craig enthuses. “That includes The British Cheese Awards and the Royal Highland Show.”
Although Craig loves new technology, he is very much the traditionalist when it comes to his cheese eating habits: “I like to have my cheese on a cheeseboard with some oatcakes, butter, some caramelised onion and a bit of fruit.”