New Zealand’s best cheeses have been decided, with a Dutch-style cheese from Akaroa taking out the top prize in the just announced Champions of Cheese Awards.
The ‘Aged Gouda’ by Barrys Bay Traditional Cheese won the coveted Champion of Champions Award for large cheese producers.
The Champion Artisan award went to another Dutch-style cheese, ‘Very Old Edam’ produced by Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese; the third year in a row Mahoe has taken the title.
And the Dutch were on top again with Jeanne Van Kuyk of Aroha Organic Goat Cheese winning the title of Champion Cheesemaker. Her company also won the Champion Goat Cheese Award for its Aroha Raw Milk Rich Plain cheese. Emigrating from Holland, Van Kuyk now makes award-winning organic, specialty cheese from her own herd of goats on the family’s rural Waikato farm.
A panel of 28 judges assessed more than 430 New Zealand specialty cheeses in this year’s competition. The judges were led by one of Australasia’s most experienced international cheese judges and renowned cheese educationalist, Russell Smith.
He said New Zealand cheese ranks with the best in the world. “The diversity of flavour profiles, the quality of cheese making and high presentation of the majority of cheese was fantastic.It’s incredibly encouraging to see the bar being raised each year.”
It is the first Champion of Champions title for Barrys Bay Traditional Cheese, which produces traditional hand-crafted cheese including cheddar, gouda and maasdam. Russell Smith said its winning Aged Gouda was beautifully presented with a superb texture and tropical fruit flavours. “This is a great example of this style of cheese and was the popular choice of the judging panel,” he said.
Full winners of 2014 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards follow:
Countdown Champion of Champions Award
Aged Gouda - Barrys Bay Traditional Cheese
Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese Award
Very Old Edam - Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese
Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker
Jeanne Van Kuyk - Aroha Organic Goat Cheese
The Langham Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award
Stracchino - Emilio’s Cheese
NZSCA Champion Feta Cheese Award
Classic Feta – Zany Zeus
Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award
OMG Double Delight – Over The Moon Dairy Company
Tuatara Brewing Champion Goat Cheese Award
Aroha Raw Milk Rich Plain – Aroha Organic Goat Cheese
NZ Chefs Association Champion Sheep Cheese Award
Mercer Pecorino – Mercer Cheese
Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award
Galactic Gold – Over The Moon Dairy Company
Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award
Kapiti Kikorangi – Fonterra Brands NZ
Eurofins Champion European Style Cheese Award
Havarti – Talbot Forest Cheese
AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award
Gouda Vintage – Karikaas Natural Dairy Products
Ministry for Primary Industries Champion New Cheese Award
Vintage Cumin Gouda – Meyer Gouda Cheese
Fonterra Champion Original Cheese Award
Flat White – Crescent Dairy Goats
Stoneleigh Latitude Champion Flavoured Cheese Award
Scamoza Affumicate – Italian Cheeses
Kiwi Labels Champion Cheddar Cheese Award
Kapiti Tuteremoana Cheddar – Fonterra Brands NZ
Kiwibank Champion Export Award
Kapiti Kahurangi Creamy Blue – Fonterra Brands NZ
New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award
Kapiti Kikorangi – Fonterra Brands
Caspak Champion Cheese Packaging Award
Dairyworks Kids Range – Dairyworks
Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheese Award
Formaggio di Latte Fresco - Aglio
Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheesemaker Award