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Dutch Dominate Cheese Awards Again

Tuesday 26th February 2013, 10:30pm

Media Release

Dutch Dominate Cheese Awards Again

It’s action replay for two New Zealand Dutch cheese companies as they scoop all three major accolades in the 2013 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards for the second consecutive year.

Meyer Vintage Gouda, produced by Meyer Gouda Cheese, has won the Crossroads Wines Champion of Champions Award for large cheesemakers. Very Old Edam, produced by Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese has won the Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese Award for smaller producers with Jake Rosevear of Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese winning the Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker Award.

Fifty nine cheese companies entered 413 cheeses in this year’s competition, with the winners announced at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at The Langham in Auckland tonight.

A total of 28 expert assessors made up the judging panel, led for the fifth year by one of Australasia’s most respected cheese judges, Russell Smith. Smith said he is particularly impressed with the increasingly high standard of Dutch cheese in New Zealand.

“Every year Dutch style cheese in New Zealand seems to get stronger and stronger. It’s fantastic to see this growth and consistency year after year,” said Smith.

Hamilton-based Meyer Gouda Cheese, which focuses solely on producing world-class Gouda, celebrates its second year winning the prestigious Champion of Champions award with its “hugely flavoured” Meyer Vintage Gouda.

“This is a cheese that almost overwhelms the palate on first taste,” Smith said. “It then settles down to a pleasing mix of complex fruity, sweet and nutty flavours. It’s a real flavour explosion for the senses.”

Meyer Vintage Gouda also won the NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Champion Export Award.

Family-run Kerikeri business Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese has taken home three awards with the youngest of the family Jake Rosevear (34) crowned Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker for the second year running.

Both Meyer and Rosevear are second generation cheesemakers now taking over production from their Dutch immigrant parents.

Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese also won the Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese Award for its Very Old Edam and the AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award for its Mature Gouda.

“Very Old Edam is a pure delight. It displays a firm and crunchy texture with sweet and floral notes and a nutty aftertaste,” said Smith.

“Mahoe’s Mature Gouda has a slightly soft texture producing a mouthful of sweet fruity flavours and just a slight tang to finish.”

To add to its award haul, two of Mahoe Farmhouse cheeses scored a perfect score of 100. Smith said this is an incredible achievement.

“In the judging I conduct internationally I might see one 100 score every two years. To see two perfect scores of 100 in one competition – well, it just doesn’t happen. The cheese has to be perfect in every aspect – you can’t do any better.”

The iconic Kapiti brand produced by Fonterra Brands NZ has also achieved a hat trick taking out five awards including the New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award (voted for by consumers) for Kapiti Kikorangi for the second year running.

Every cheese was examined by both a technical and an aesthetic judge and strictly graded to pre-determined bronze, silver and gold standards. This year the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards produced 74 gold medals, up from 58 in 2012.

“On the tenth anniversary of these awards it’s fantastic to see such a large number of gold medals awarded. It’s a real testament to the increasing skill of New Zealand cheesemakers, especially the artisan end,” Smith said.

Cheese lovers keen to sample New Zealand’s finest, award-winning cheeses are encouraged to head long to Cuisine CheeseFest, Wednesday 27th February from 12pm – 3pm and 5pm - 8pm. Tickets are available at the door for $35.

2013 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards category winners are:

Crossroads Wines Champion of Champions Award
Meyer Vintage Gouda – Meyer Gouda Cheese

Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese Award
Very Old Edam – Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker Award
Jake Rosevear – Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

The Langham Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award
Mozzarella - Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese Company

Countdown Champion Feta Cheese Award
Waimata Brined Feta – Waimata Cheese Company

Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award
Whitestone Brie Maxi - Whitestone Cheese

Elldex Packaging Champion Goat Cheese Award
Aroha Rich Plain – Aroha Organic Goat

NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Champion Sheep Cheese Award
Mercer Pecorino – Mercer Cheese

Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award
Kapiti Ramara – Fonterra Brands NZ

Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award
Kapiti Awa Blue – Fonterra Brands NZ

Eurofins Champion European Style Cheese Award
Farmhouse Mature – Crescent Dairy Goats

AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award
Mature Gouda – Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

Ministry for Primary Industries Champion New Cheese Award
Aroha Raw Milk Rich Plain – Aroha Organic Goat

Fonterra Champion Original Cheese Award
Kapiti Tuteremoana – Fonterra Brands NZ

Moa Beer Champion Flavoured Cheese Award
Labneh Lemon – Kaikoura Cheese

GEON Champion Cheddar Cheese Award
Lichfield Cheddar (aged less than 12 months) – Fonterra Lichfield

NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Champion Export Award
Meyer Vintage Gouda – Meyer Gouda Cheese

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

Caspak Champion Cheese Packaging Award
Mainland Natural Cheese Sticks – Fonterra Brands NZ

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheese Award
Tahatu by Alan Moore

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheesemaker Award
Alan Moore of Sunnyvale, Auckland


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