Win for Rudgwick’s Sussex Charmer Cheese ‘very special’

JPCT 020813 S13320409x  Sussex Charmer. Rudgwick.Tim Harrison and Rob Bookham. Award winning cheese -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 020813 S13320409x Sussex Charmer. Rudgwick.Tim Harrison and Rob Bookham. Award winning cheese -photo by Steve Cobb

A ‘shocked’ Rudgwick-based cheese company scooped a ‘Best in Show’ award at one of the world’s biggest cheese competitions late last month.

Sussex Charmer Cheese took gold in the Food Services category at the International Cheese Awards in Nantwich, Cheshire, and then went on to win a ‘Best in Show’ award.

One of Sussex Charmer Cheese's herds (submitted).

One of Sussex Charmer Cheese's herds (submitted).

Rob Bookham, a director at Sussex Charmer Cheese, said with around 4,000 entries from 27 different countries they were not expecting to win and were ‘shocked’ to hear the news.

He said: “We were chuffed. We are very proud of our cheese and we have a massive growing customer base and it’s their favourite cheese which is great, but to get recognition from the top judges in the world was very very special.”
They won Best British Cheese last year, and Best New Dairy Product in 2008.

Recent successes for the business include supplying Royal Ascot, where over the five days 1.2 tonnes of cheese was consumed, and was also served in the Royal Box.

Charmer was the showcase cheese at the Chelsea Flower Show this year, they are selling to a large number of hotels in London, and will be the cheese of choice at Windsor Racecourse in 2014.

Rob added: “We have very recently brought all our operations to Rudgwick and since then there has been this crest and we are currently riding on it and it has been very exciting.”

Charmer Cheese was founded in 2007 when Rob and his wife Claire teamed up with Tim Harrison, who ran a family dairy business in Rudgwick with his four cousins, to create a new cheese.

Charmer has high-butter, high-fat content, and Rob explains that without good milk you cannot make good cheese.

He explained: “Credit to the guys who look after the cows. It’s a massive team effort.” He continued: “Our yield is actually quite low but we have happy cows that create great milk that produces the most amazing cheese.”

It is currently renovating the old Rudgwick Brickworks, in Lynwick Street, near its Woodsomes Farm where its main herd of cows is based.

Rob said they hoped to find like minded business to move on-site, with Firebird Brewery joining them earlier this year.

“The opportunity we have here is massive,” he said.

“We are keen to develop the site sympathetically and it will be a great asset to Rudgwick.”

For more information visit its website.