Following judging for the first time in Hamilton, the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) has announced 265 medal winners in the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2021.

Last month more than 310 cheeses from 35 cheese companies were judged by the panel of 32 judges led by Master Cheese Judge Jason Tarrant. Judging resulted in 265 medals being awarded;84 gold medals, 121 silver medals and 60 bronze medals.

While there are too many medal winning cheeses to mention each one, some of the interesting gold medal cheeses include; Geraldine Cheese Company, Aged Deer Gouda which won gold in the Fonterra Co-operative Group Original Cheese category, New Zealand Food Safety New Cheese category gold medal winners Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese, Poukawa Fog and Whitestone Cheese Co, Oamaru Blue; and Clevedon Buffalo, Buffalo Salted Curd which won gold in the IFF/Danisco Fresh Unripened Cheese category.

Jason Tarrant said “Overall, the calibre of the entries was excellent with just over one out of every four cheeses entered earning a gold medal.”

He noted peak ripeness in white mould and washed rind categories was a little elusive this year. However he said “this was outweighed by the many fantastic results in other categories showcasing world class New Zealand cheeses.”

NZSCA Chair Neil Willman said the Association was delighted to see so many New Zealand cheeses meeting the high standard necessary to be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals.

“Congratulations to all medal winners! We’re delighted many more will be recognised following the Board’s decision this year to issue certificates to the second and third placing cheeses in each category.

This year judging was not without challenge!  With Auckland and our Manukau venue going into lockdown one week before the judging, the NZSCA team worked at lightning speed to reorganise the entire event to our backup venue in Hamilton. My personal thanks to the NZSCA team and the fantastic team at WINTEC for their support.  The event and venue were both outstanding.”

Mr Willman concluded saying “I’m waiting with great anticipation for the announcement of the 2021 champions at our Gala Dinner in May.”

Trophy winners will be announced at the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Gala Dinner at SkyCity in Hamilton on Wednesday 5 May 2021.

A full list of NZ Champions of Cheese Medal Winners is here.

The NZ Champions of Cheese 2021 Trophies to be announced on Wednesday 5 May 2021 are:

  • Countdown Champion of Champions (Commercial)
  • New World Champion of Champions (Mid-sized)
  • Puhoi Valley Champion of Champions (Boutique)
  • MilkTestNZ Champion Cheesemaker
  • Fonterra Co-operative Group Champion Original Cheese
  • ECOLAB Champion Blue Cheese
  • New Zealand Food Safety Champion New Cheese
  • CHR Hansen Champion Soft White Rind Cheese
  • Kiwi Labels Champion Greek/Cypriot Cheese
  • Cheeselinks Champion Fresh Italian Style Cheese
  • IFF/Danisco Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese
  • AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese
  • Champion European Style Cheese
  • Sabato Champion Farmhouse Cheese
  • Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind
  • Big Chill Distribution Champion Flavoured Cheese
  • Tetra Pak Champion Retail Cheddar Cheese
  • Champion Bulk Cheddar Cheese
  • Good George Brewing Champion Goat Cheese
  • dish magazine Champion Sheep Cheese
  • 180 degrees NZ Champion Export Cheese

Special Awards

  • Innovative Packaging Aspiring Cheesemaker
  • Curds & Whey Champion Homecrafted Cheesemaker and Cheese
  • New World Cheese Lovers’ Choice
  • Ignite Colleges Chef’s Choice
  • C‘est Cheese Champion Butter
  • Countdown Champion Yoghurt

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