Science meets art as Fonterra takes home top cheese honours


Fonterra’s cheese makers were in the spotlight last night when Kāpiti and NZMP took home three of the country’s top awards for cheese at the NZ Champion of Cheese Awards.

Kāpiti Kikorangi, one of New Zealand’s most honoured blue cheeses was the Champion Export Cheese trophy winner, while NZMP’s Strong Cheddar Cheese was the Champion Cheddar of the night. Kāpiti Kahurangi was the people’s favourite, winning the Champion Cheese Lover’s Choice Award for the fourth year running.

A team of 28 judges, led by Australian Master Judge Russell Smith, assessed more than 2,000 kilograms of cheese on presentation, rind appearance, texture, aroma and flavour. 

The team at Fonterra’s Eltham site in Taranaki, where Kāpiti Kikorangi and Kāpiti Kahurangi are crafted, were anything but blue last night.  Lead Cheese Maker, Cathy Lang said it was fantastic for Kāpiti to be honoured with these awards.

“We are really proud of our blues. People might not know that we have been growing our own strains of penicillium roqueforti (blue mould) to make our blue cheeses since 1951.”

“It is both a science and an art, but what makes a great cheese is the milk that goes into it. Quality milk from grass-fed cows means that we can produce award winning cheese”.

Fonterra NZMP Strong Cheddar Cheese is crafted at Fonterra’s Lichfield plant in Waikato. Fonterra Process Project Manager, Sam Pokaitara said the team was really happy with the judges’ evaluation of the cheese.

“It really recognises the skill of our cheese makers and the work that goes into making the best cheese. There are a lot of people involved, and it will be great to celebrate with the team.”

Overall Fonterra won a combined total 27 medals and three Champion trophies.

Here you can also read about Fonterra’s Clandeboye site and the enormous amounts of mozzarella cheese they produce.