NZ's top cheeses revealed

March 06, 2014
NZ's top cheeses revealed

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

Bri DiMattina