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The World Cheese Awards

Never mind the Oscars, if you’re a cheese producer the ultimate accolade is to win ‘World Champion Cheese’ at the annual World Cheese Awards.  The event is organised by The Guild of Fine Foods and has been running since 1988. 

Each year thousands of cheeses are tasted and judged by a carefully selected panel of experts including buyers, food writers, technical experts and retailers from around the world.  Remarkably all the judging takes place in a single day.  Working in teams of 3, the judges decide which of the cheeses deserve to be awarded one of 3 awards: a gold, silver or bronze medal. 

It goes without saying that the cheeses are judged on how they taste.  But in addition to this,  the judges are also looking at the rind and body (paste) of the cheese; judging the colour, texture and the consistency.

Once all the medals are awarded, each of the judging teams then selects one exceptional cheese, which is awarded a Super Gold Medal.  These Super Gold Medal winners then enter into the running to become the Supreme Champion.  This part of the competition is judged by a panel of 16 internationally recognised experts from around the world  – the so called ‘Super Jury’.  The merits of each of the Super Gold Medal winning cheeses are then debated by the Super Jury in front of a live consumer and trade audience.   At the end of the debate, the Supreme Champion cheese is crowned.

Past Winners:

So…which cheeses have been crowned World Champion?  Here is a list of the past winners

  • 1988 Blue Cheshire by Hutchinson-Smith & Sons, England.
  • 1989 Blue Stilton by Dairy Crest Foods, Hartington, England.
  • 1990 Mature Traditional Cheddar by Dairy Crest, Sturminster Newton, England
  • 1991 Fourme d'Ambert by Hennart Frères, France
  • 1992 Le Gruyère Premier Cru by von Mühlenen of Switzerland.
  • 1993 Double Gloucester by Dairy Crest, Longridge, England
  • 1994 Brie de Meaux AOC by Hennart Frères, France
  • 1995 Shropshire Blue by Cropwell Bishop Creamery, England
  • 1996 Lord of the Hundreds by Traditional Cheese Dairy, England
  • 1997 Parmigiano Reggiano by Caseficio Vittorio Quistello, Italy
  • 1998 Mature Traditional Cheddar by Dairy Crest, Sturminster Newton, England
  • 1999 Kollumer 18 months (Old Dutch master) by Frico Cheese, Holland
  • 2000 Mature West Country Farmhouse Cheddar by Brue Valley Farms, England
  • 2001 Camembert Super Medaillon by  Isigny Sainte-Mère, France andMature Cheddar by Carbery, Ireland (two winners)
  • 2002 Le Gruyère AOC Reserve by von Mühlenen of Switzerland
  • 2003 Chevre d'Or Camembert by Eurial-Poitouaine/Eurilai, France
  • 2004 Camembert de Normandie by Isigny Sainte-Mère, France
  • 2005 Le Gruyère Premier Cru by von Mühlenen of Switzerland.
  • 2006 Ossau-Iraty by Fromagerie Agour of France
  • 2007 Brie de Meaux, Rénard Gillard, France
  • 2008 Queso Arico curado pimentón by Sociedad Canaria de Formento of Tenerife.
  • 2009 Le Cendrillon by La Maison Alexis de Portneuf of Québec, Canada.
  • 2010 Cornish Blue by Cornish Cheese Co. of England
  • 2011 Ossau-Iraty by Fromagerie Agour of France.
  • 2012 Manchego PDO Gran Reserva by Dehesa de Los Llanos of Spain.
  • 2013 Montagnolo Affiné by Käserei Champignon of Germany
  • 2014 Bath Blue by Bath Soft Cheese of England 
  • 2015 Le Gruyère AOP by von Mühlenen of Switzerland
  • 2016 Kraftkar by Tingvollost of Norway
  • 2017 Cornish Kern, by Lynher Dairies Cheese Company, England
  • 2018 Fanaost, a gouda by Ostegården of Fana, Norway 2019 Rogue River Blue by Rogue Creamery of Central Point, Oregon, USA

Source: Wikipedia

The 2019 awards were held in Bergamo, Italy and saw the first American Cheese win Supreme Champion.  Rogue River Blue is a strong, vibrant blue cheese made from raw, organic cows’ milk at the Rogue Creamery in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley in the US.  After being cave-aged for 9 to 11 months, it is wrapped in organic Syrah grape leaves that have first been soaked in Pear brandy.  It is only made in the Autumn when the farm’s milk is at it’s best.

Photo by: Beryl Striewski

If you want to experience some of the past Gold and Super Gold Medal winning cheeses, why not order one of our World Cheese Award Gift Sets.