Tuesday 2 November 2021: Fifteen stores – from Auckland to Oamaru – that specialise in selling locally made cheese have been named Top NZ Cheese Stores for 2021, marking the end of a successful NZ Cheese Month.
This is the second year the New Zealand Speciality Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) has recognised cheese shops across Aotearoa which celebrate and support the local industry by educating cheese lovers and promoting locally made cheese.
Announcing the Top NZ Cheese Stores for 2021, NZSCA Chair, Catherine McNamara said it was wonderful for the country’s speciality cheesemakers to be supported by such a strong and vibrant retail culture.
She thanked the two independent and highly experienced judges; Kerry Tyack and Kathy Paterson. They assessed multiple entries against criteria including; range of premium New Zealand cheeses, appealing shopping environment, enticing cheese display, knowledgeable and well-trained staff, regular cheese tastings and marketing of the store and NZ cheese.
The Top NZ Cheese Stores 2021 are:
Cheese lovers will recognise the stores as they receive a certificate and an eye-catching ‘Top NZ Cheese Shop’ decal to display. They will also be included in the directory of New Zealand cheesemakers and farmers’ markets on the website www.cheeseloversnz.co.nz. Cheese lovers can search by region for cheese, which means wherever people are holidaying in New Zealand they can jump online and find a retailer that stocks a range of premium cheese that showcases their region and/or the country’s speciality cheesemakers.
Catherine McNamara says retailers play an essential role in educating Kiwis about locally made cheese. “While cheesemakers are busy making cheese, retailers communicate directly to consumers, providing tastings of local cheese and explaining the stories behind the production. They ensure cheese lovers understand the love and care which goes into making local speciality cheese.”
She said there are myriad reasons for Kiwis to buy New Zealand cheese and good retailers help share this story. “Buying locally made cheese keeps jobs and money in our country. It also supports our regions as many of the cheesemakers and the farms that support them are in rural areas, and of course, it reduced food miles! What’s more, there’s a very good chance cheese lovers will get to meet their local cheesemaker and visit their dairy or cheese factory.”