The World Cheese Awards saw a Le Gruyère AOP surchoix, entered by Swiss cheesemaker Vorderfultigen and affineur Gourmino, scoop the highest accolade, World Champion Cheese, at the International Convention Centre Wales in Newport.
The World Champion Cheese rose to the top of the record-breaking 4,434 entries in this year’s World Cheese Awards, where the best cheeses from around the globe went head-to-head at the world’s largest cheese-only event. The cheeses were scored on aspects such as the appearance of the rind and paste, as well as the cheese’s aroma, body, and texture, with the majority of points awarded for flavour and mouthfeel.
Said Dennis Kaser, international marketing manager, Le Gruyère AOP: “This is a result that shows the quality behind all these people working together; 1900 milk producers, 155 cheesemakers and 11 refiners. This collaborative work results in such a high-quality cheese style, which is loved by the consumer. I’m so very proud to be representing Le Gruyère. Huge congratulations to cheesemaker Vorderfultigen and affineur Gourmino.”
The 4,434 international cheeses were sent to Wales by boat, truck, train, and plane via 19 consolidation points around the world, removing barriers to entry for many artisan cheese producers. Each were closely examined by the panel of judges, featuring cheesemakers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs, retailers, and writers, to deem if they were worthy of a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Super Gold award.
Said Lesley Griffiths, Rural Affairs Minister of the Welsh Government, Principal Global Partner of the World Cheese Awards: “I am proud Wales has hosted the world’s biggest cheese awards.
“This really is the ‘World Cup of Cheese’ and a celebration of excellence in cheese making from around the globe. “In addition to the exceptional cheesemakers, we have welcomed 250 experts from 38 different countries to judge and a Super Jury of 16 judges to select the coveted World Champion Cheese.
“It has also been great to see the strong Welsh presence at the awards who have been able to showcase their high-quality products. A huge congratulations to all of the winners and everyone competing this year.”
Added John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the World Cheese Awards: “What a finale. This year’s World Cheese Awards has been a huge success and Wales has been the perfect canvas for this colourful event. We’ve seen more entries than ever before and it’s great to see such a range of styles and regions represented. To crown Le Gruyère AOP surchoix as this year’s World Champion Cheese is so well deserved. The judges in the room today, our cheese experts from all over the world, were clearly blown away by the quality of the cheese and dedication shown by all the cheesemakers.
“I’d like to thank our judges, sponsors and partners, particularly the Welsh Government, for all their continued support and for helping this year’s awards to be bigger and better than ever before, giving the global cheese community a day of well-earned celebration.”
This year’s World Cheese Awards was the 34th edition and has seen more entries than ever before with a record-breaking 4,434 cheeses submitted from 42 countries and 900 companies from around the globe (10.9% UK based, 89.1% international). The cheeses included increased entries from Canada, Argentina, Slovenia and Israel, whilst India followed its first entry in 2021 with several more this year and the Ukraine saw a huge increase in entries after the World Cheese Awards was moved to Wales from its original 2022 location of Kyiv. Well-established cheesemaking nations such as France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom were well represented by both returning and new entrants, with a notable increase in Swiss entries. For more visit worldcheeseawards.com