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A Champion Cheese And A Team Of Champions

A Champion Cheese And A Team Of Champions

A New Zealand take on a classic European recipe, subtle shades of creamy blue ­ all wrapped in some innovative packaging ­ these are the ingredients of a champion performance by Mainland Products Limited at the 2004 Cheese Awards.

Mainland set a new benchmark at the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards, held at Auckland’s Hyatt Regency on Friday night, winning the supreme award, the AEP Flexipac Champion of Champions, for Ferndale Raclette.

Mainland also topped five of the nineteen Award categories, with Champion Awards for Ferndale Shades of Blue (Export), Ferndale Blue de Montagne, Ferndale Shades of Blue, Ferndale Captain’s Bay Blue, and Ferndale Raclette.

The largest cheese competition ever to be held in New Zealand, the Awards attracted 510 entries from 35 cheese makers.

Mainland Marketing Manager Sharon Angus says Mainland is delighted with its successes in the Awards, and in particular the recognition of the internationally inspired tastes and flavours, winning favour with New Zealanders through the Ferndale range.

“We see Mainland’s repertoire of products as reflecting the growing sophistication of the New Zealand cheese consumer ­ something the judges have clearly supported,” says Sharon Angus.

The Champion honours mark the culmination of an extremely successful Cheese Awards for Mainland. The company won 118 medals, more than a quarter of the total awarded in the competition, including 16 Gold, 51 Silver and 51 Bronze medals.

Ms Angus says the Champion of Champions Award for Ferndale Raclette is the ideal reward for Mainland’s focus on developing cheeses that represent an international quality and flavour.

First introduced in 1986, Ferndale Raclette was developed in association with Jean Garsuault, a renowned French cheesemaker. Raclette is a brine-salted, pressed cheese, which develops its flavour and aroma from surface ripening.

“The cheese has a rich tradition in Europe, as a cheese used for melting,” says Sharon Angus.

Traditionally, a special wheel is used to expose the Raclette to the fire, with a Œracler’ (or scraper) used to spread the melt over food.

“The delicious aroma and distinctive flavour of the Raclette have seen it gain increasing popularity with creative New Zealand chefs.”

The different strengths and textures of Mainland’s blue cheese were also well represented in the Champion Awards.

“It’s great to see our range of blue cheeses, which we have crafted to the New Zealand palate, placed first in four categories,” says Sharon Angus.

“Kiwi’s tastes in blue cheese have been expanding and developing, helped we believe by the introduction of our comprehensive blue range, which are matched to a myriad of tastes.”

Mainland’s premium Ferndale range dominated the Awards. In addition to the supreme Champion of Champions and five category wins, Ferndale cheeses were awarded a total of 46 medals, including 10 Gold.

Sharon Angus says that although the recognition of Mainland in the New Zealand Champions of Cheeses Awards 2004 has been extremely gratifying, the company is also focussed on the future of cheese making in this country.

“We are using the opportunity to sponsor a national tour by Cheese Awards Master Judge John Greeley,” says Sharon Angus.

The tour, sponsored by Ferndale, will allow hospitality students at Auckland University of Technology, Massey University and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Training, to hear from one of the world’s recognised authorities on cheese.

“This is another way for us to combine classic New Zealand ingredients with inspiration from around the world to create the environment in which champion cheeses are made.”

© Scoop Media

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