The results are in for this year’s New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards. And the winners are New Zealand’s legions of cheese fanatics who are spoilt for choice by our local producers and their world-class varieties.
In a word, the entries for this year’s New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards have been excellent! Beloved favourites as well as some new kids on the block were among Wednesday’s 27 trophy winners.
Kiwi Cheese fans will be none too surprised to learn that the likes of Kāpiti were among the awards’ Supreme Champions, winning the Countdown Champion of Champion Cheese Award for their Te Tihi Premium Aged Cheddar, which Chief Judge Jason Tarrant described as “an iconic vintage cheddar that Kiwis’ know and love”.
Mahoe and their Very Old Edam, who won the New World Champion of Champion Cheese Award for their “world-class cheese” kept their strong run of award-winning cheeses alive after taking home the silverware between 2012 and 2015. The Drunken Nanny’s “clean and fresh” Black Tie Petite took home the Puhoi Valley Cheese Champion of Champions Cheese Award while relative newcomers Annie Nieuwenhuis & Geoff Nieuwenhuis of Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese took home the MilkTestNZ Champion Cheesemaker Award to round out the Supreme Champions.
We’re pleased to announce that the dish magazine Champion Sheep Cheese Award went to the Geraldine Cheese Company for their beautiful boutique Gouda. This little cheese factory produces some outstanding varieties, honouring the long tradition of cheesemaking in Geraldine, which goes back as far as 1884. They continue to craft their cheese in small batches the way it was done over 125 years ago, keeping the spirit of Geraldine cheesemaking alive. The secret is their pasture-raised raw cow’s, goats and sheep milk, which is sourced locally in South Canterbury.
The sheer volume of entries for this year’s awards would be enough to make any cheese lover melt with well over 300 cheeses submitted by 35 cheese companies. Chief Judge Jason Tarrant, who led a panel of 32 judges to assess the cheeses, said “Overall, the calibre of the entries was excellent.”
New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association organises the annual awards with Board chair Neil Willman saying “It’s encouraging to see the quality and variety of cheeses that were recognised this year. It’s proof of the strength of the New Zealand cheese industry and the quality and innovation of cheesemakers. Furthermore I’m heartened by the reports that cheese lovers are seeking out locally made cheese, supporting the industry as never before and leading to increasing sales for New Zealand cheese.”
NZ CHAMPIONS OF CHEESE AWARDS 2021 TROPHIES
The 2021 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Supreme Champions are;
Countdown Champion of Champion Cheese Award - Commercial; Kāpiti, Te Tihi Premium Aged Cheddar;
New World Champion of Champion Cheese Award - Mid-sized; Mahoe, Very Old Edam;
Puhoi Valley Cheese Champion of Champions Cheese Award - Boutique; The Drunken Nanny, Black Tie Petite
MilkTestNZ Champion Cheesemaker; Annie Nieuwenhuis & Geoff Nieuwenhuis, Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese.
NZ Champions of Cheese 2021 Category Trophies are;
ECOLAB Champion Blue Cheese Award; Puhoi Valley Pakiri Beach Blue
Tetra Pak Champion Retail Cheddar Cheese Award; Kāpiti Te Tihi Premium Aged Cheddar
Wintec Champion Bulk Cheddar Cheese Award; Fonterra NZMP Vintage
AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award; Mahoe Very Old Edam
NZSCA Champion European Style Cheese Award; Thorvald Little River Estate Aged Swiss
dish magazine Champion Sheep Cheese Award; Geraldine Cheese Gouda
180 degrees New Zealand Champion Export Cheese Award; Kāpiti Te Tihi Premium Aged Cheddar
Sabato Champion Farmhouse Cheese Award; Meyer Cheese Cumin & Cloves
Big Chill Distribution Champion Flavour Added Cheese Award; Meyer Cheese Smoked Gouda
IFF Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award; Clevedon Buffalo Salted Curd
Cheeselinks Champion Fresh Italian Style Cheese Award; Massimo's Burrata
Good George Brewing Champion Goat Cheese Award; The Drunken Nanny Black Tie Petite
Kiwi Labels Champion Greek/Cypriot Cheese Award; Puhoi Valley Cow’s Milk Feta
New Zealand Food Safety Champion New Cheese Award; Whitestone Oamaru Blue
Fonterra Co-operative Group Champion Original Cheese Award; Geraldine Cheese Aged Deer Gouda
CHR Hansen Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award; Remutaka Pass Creamery Summit Snow
Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award; Grinning Gecko Kau Piro
The NZ Champions of Cheese 2021 Special Awards are;
New World Cheese Lovers' Choice; Kapiti Kikorangi Blue
Innovative Packaging Aspiring Cheesemaker; Clara Autet, Grinning Gecko
Ignite Colleges Chef’s Choice Award; Karikaas Pumahana
Curds & Whey Champion Homecrafted Cheese & Cheesemaker; St Peters College, SPC Blue
C’est Cheese Champion Butter; Lewis Road Creamery Garlic & Parsley Butter
Countdown Champion Yoghurt Award; Clevedon Buffalo Lemon Zest Yoghurt