One of the most important events in the global cheese calendar, the International Cheese Awards attracted a record 5,685 entries in categories that ranged from traditional farmhouse to speciality Scandinavian. Cheeses from the smallest boutiques to the largest cheese brands in the world vied for top honours in the Awards, now in their 120th year of competition.
NZMP Vintage Cheddar claimed second place in the Vintage Cheddar Cheese Class (over 18 months), open to non-UK creameries. This cheese, which features in Mainland Vintage Cheese, is made at Fonterra’s Lichfield site in the Waikato and is matured for up to 24 months before release.
NZMP Noble Cheddar, which features in Mainland Noble Cheese, won silver for Best in New Zealand Cheese Class. Crafted at Fonterra’s Hautapu site in the heart of the Waikato, this reduced-fat cheddar cheese packs a full-flavour punch.
Fonterra Plant Manager, Hautapu Cheese, Ross Burdett and Fonterra Process Project Manager and Cheesemaker Iain O’Donnell from Fonterra’s Lichfield site agreed that their cheese teams felt honoured to have their work recognised on the world stage.
Ross Burdett said, “Our team is really proud to receive the silver for ‘Best in New Zealand’ Cheese award. The Nantwich cheese awards are one of the most highly recognised awards in the global cheese industry so it’s really something special for the team. The award is also acknowledgement of the hard work and care they take to make consistently great cheeses across our product range”.
Iain O’Donnell said, “Our team is delighted to be runner up for the Vintage Cheddar Cheese award. This is a cheese we are really proud of, and enjoy making, so it is great to be recognised globally for it. Credit also belongs to our Fonterra farmers, whose top-quality, grass-fed milk allows us to make top-quality cheese.”
Fonterra Dairy Foods Category Director Casey Thomas added “It is important for our cheeses to measure up against their European counterparts and receive independent affirmation that we produce some of the world’s best cheddar cheeses.”
Established in 1897, the International Cheese Awards at Nantwich is the biggest cheese show in the world, attracting entries from 50 different countries, including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. As well as having the chance to sample and purchase the cheeses on display, visitors to the show enjoyed cheese-making demonstrations, celebrity cooking shows and other attractions.