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New Zealand Champions of Cheese Award Winners Announced

29 February 2012

Dutch Style Cheeses Scoop Top Cheese Awards

New Zealand Champions of Cheese Award Winners Announced

New Zealand’s Dutch cheesemakers have come up trumps at this year’s Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards, with Gouda and Edam varieties taking out the top two awards.

Meyer Vintage Gouda, produced by Meyer Gouda Cheese, has won the Yealands Estate Champion of Champions Award for large cheesemakers, and Very Old Edam from Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese has taken out the Cuisine Champion Artisan Award for smaller producers. These two supreme awards have equal status as the most prestigious awards for cheese excellence in New Zealand.

More than 400 cheeses were entered in this year’s competition, with the winners announced at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at The Langham in Auckland.

The 2012 Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards judging was led for the fourth year running by one of Australasia’s most respected cheese judges, Russell Smith. He noted New Zealand’s Dutch style cheeses as one of the stand outs in the specialty cheese industry.

“The calibre of New Zealand’s Dutch style cheeses is always high which can make them a challenge to judge,” said Smith. “The Mahoe Farmhouse Very Old Edam and Meyer Vintage Gouda were clear winners for all the judges, illustrating the extraordinary talent of these young second generation cheesemakers.”

The Cuisine Champion Artisan Award was set up to celebrate cheesemakers that produce less than 20 tonnes of cheese annually. This year Kerikeri-based Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese took away the supreme title for its Very Old Edam. Its cheesemaker, Jacob Rosevear was also awarded the NZ Cheese School Champion Cheesemaker of the Year award at just 33 years of age.

Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese is a family owned business which was founded in Kerikeri in 1986 by Jacob’s parents, Anna and Bob Rosevear.

“This was a stand-out winner and a prime example of a beautifully crafted Dutch cheese,” said Smith. “The intense tropical fruit flavour and the lingering, clean aftertaste combine with the light crunchy crystals to create an absolute taste delight.”

Hamilton-based Meyer Gouda Cheese focuses solely on producing world-class Gouda cheeses and they always perform consistently well at the Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards. Miel Meyer is head cheesemaker at Meyer Gouda Cheese and was crowned Champion Cheesemaker of the Year at last year’s awards. The Meyer business produces around 60 tonnes of Gouda annually.

“Meyer’s Vintage Gouda is another example of a high quality Gouda which has been superbly crafted with subtle fruit-driven flavours and savoury overtones, making it a stunning example of a Dutch style cheese,” added Smith.

A number of the 2011 award-winning cheeses have taken out category trophies for the second year running. Last year’s Champion of Champions Award winner, Kapiti Kikorangi confirmed its place as one of New Zealand’s best loved cheeses by winning the New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award.

“This year, we invited our customers to vote for their favourite cheese and the Kapiti Kikorangi came out on top,” says Foodstuffs Auckland Senior Marketing Coordinator Sarah McClennan. “Four out of the top 10 People’s Choice cheeses were blue varietals, stamping it a firm favourite style for Kiwi consumers.”

Whitestone Vintage Blue and Cheddar produced by Fonterra Edendale were also winners at the awards for the second year in a row named Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese and GEON Champion Cheddar Cheese respectively.

This year’s Awards also recognised a well-loved industry personality - Bob Berry from Whitestone Cheese. The New Zealand Specialist Cheese Association presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to the New Zealand specialty cheese industry.

Mr Berry founded Whitestone Cheese in 1987. His company and its cheeses have been consistently recognised as champion cheeses at the Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards over the last nine years, and in international competitions.

The 2012 Cuisine Champions of Cheese Awards welcomed 430 cheese entries from 36 different companies throughout New Zealand. Entries were judged across 19 different categories and judges awarded gold, silver and bronze medals before naming a champion for each category.

Cheese lovers eager to view, sample and buy award-winning cheeses are encouraged to visit Monteith’s CheeseFest from 5-9pm, Wednesday 29 February at The Langham, Auckland. Tickets for this event are available for $30 per person from www.eventfinder.co.nz.

2012 Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards WINNERS

Yealands Estate Champion of Champions Award
Meyer Vintage Gouda – Meyer Gouda Cheese

Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese
Very Old Edam - Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

NZ Cheese School Champion Cheesemaker
Jacob Rosevear - Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

2012 Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Category Winners:

The Langham Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award
Buffalo Mozzarella – Clevedon Valley Buffalo Company

Countdown Champion Feta Cheese Award
Brinza – Gibbston Valley Cheese

Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award
Overbrook Brie – Talbot Forest Cheese

Elldex Packaging Champion Goat Cheese Award
Cilantro Chèvre – Cilantro Cheese

Monteith's Champion Sheep Cheese Award
Cumerino – Over The Moon Dairy Company

Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award
Galactic Gold – Over the Moon Dairy Company

GEON Champion Cheddar Cheese Award
Fonterra Edendale Cheddar – Fonterra Edendale (aged 26- 36 months)

QCONZ Champion European Style Cheese Award
Parmesan – Talbot Forest Cheese

NZ Labs/Bureau Veritas Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award
Leyden Vintage – Karikaas Natural Dairy Products

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Champion New Cheese Award
Buffalo Hard Cheese – Clevedon Valley Buffalo Company

Fonterra Champion Original Cheese Award
Darfield – Gruff Junction

AsureQuality Champion Flavoured Cheese Award
Garlic & Chive Gouda – Meyer Gouda Cheese

Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award
Vintage Blue – Whitestone Cheese

Goodman Fielder Champion Export Cheese Award
Kapiti Kahurangi – Fonterra Brands NZ

New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award
Kapiti Kikorangi – Fonterra Brands NZ

Caspak Champion Cheese Packaging Award
Whitestone Range – Whitestone Cheese

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheese Award
Pohangina Blue by Adrian Walcroft

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheesemaker Award
Adrian Walcroft of Ashhurst

ENDS

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