A LUDLOW delicatessen owner has been selected as a member of the elite judging panel at this year’s World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, northern Italy.

Henry Mackley who co-owns Harp Lane Deli in Ludlow will form part of the panel made up of judges from 30 countries that will be given the enviable task of tasting 3,800 different cheeses from across the globe.

He runs one of the many highly regarded independent food businesses in Ludlow that have made the town a culinary ‘must visit’ for many people.

Mr Mackley, who opened Harp Lane Deli in 2014 will be flown to Bergamo later this month to take part in the event organised by UK-based Guild of Fine Food that will run concurrently with the FORME Cheese Festival which attracts some 40,000 visitors over four days.

“It’s a great privilege to be invited”, said Mr Mackley, who has previously judged at the Awards in 2014.

“It’s recognition from the dairy industry that we really know what we’re talking about when it comes to cheese here at Harp Lane. It’s also a rare and exciting opportunity to represent Ludlow as a gastronomic destination on a global platform.”

Mr Mackley, a former MasterChef contestant and son of Lesley and the late John Mackley, co-founders of the Ludlow Food Festival does not think of himself as an expert on cheese but as an enthusiast.

“I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a cheese expert, more a passionate enthusiast, and I’m still learning about the stuff every day.

“Cheese is a very idiosyncratic product, and it requires constant attention for it to be sold at its best, which is what we constantly aspire to do at the deli. An important part of my job as a cheese retailer is constant tasting, so I’m fairly confident in my own knowledge as to the difference between bad, good, and outstanding cheeses!”.

Judging is on Friday, October 18, and the Cheese World Champion will be announced that evening.