New Zealand’s Big Cheese hunt is on again, and this time the public will get a taste of the action.

Entries are now open for the 2007 Cuisine NZ Champion Cheese Awards, which will be bigger, better and even earlier than ever before.

Organisers are expecting more than 500 New Zealand cheeses to be entered in the 20 categories of the awards, now in their fourth year.

“I am delighted that four years after the first awards they have evolved into an event that not only the industry, but the general public looks forward to,” says Bob Berry, Chairman of the Specialist Cheese Makers Association.

One of the highlights of next year’s awards will be a new Cheese Fest, open to the public at The Floating Pavilion on the evening of Wednesday, March 7, 2007. Cheese lovers will be able to sample most of the entries to the awards and not only learn about cheeses made in New Zealand, but about cheese tasting and making in general.

Members of the New Zealand Specialist Cheese Makers Association will be on hand to answer questions about one the fastest-growing industries in the country and guests will also be able to match award-winning Saint Clair Estate wines to their favourite cheeses. Saint Clair Estate Wines are new sponsors for the 2007 awards.

Picking winners from among all the cheeses will be a 32-person judging panel led by distinguished US cheese connoisseur John Greeley.

John has been championing excellence in cheese for more than two decades. A member of the American Cheese Society (ACS) for 22 years, he is also a member of the ACS Board of Directors, as well as Chairman of the ACS Cheese Competition.

Cuisine Magazine has remained as naming rights sponsor.

“The Cuisine NZ Champion of Cheese Awards promote to our readers the very best that New Zealand cheese makers have to offer and we are delighted to be a part of next year’s effort,” says Michal McKay, Editorial Director of Cuisine.

The 2007 awards include some new classes and some renamed classes, designed to encourage cheese makers to invent and expand their selection of cheeses.

Three categories in particular have been singled out for attention. These include the Dutch style, goat and sheep categories.

“The Dutch styles in New Zealand are very, very good and varied enough to belong into their own category,” says John Greeley.

“Am I impressed and a bit jealous of the Cuisine Champion of Cheese Awards? Absolutely! Do I enjoy coming to New Zealand to compare and improve both competitions? Absolutely! Will there be exciting changes in both the New Zealand and USA competitions and awards ceremonies in 2007? You can bet cheese on that mate!”

Cuisine New Zealand Champion Cheese Awards 2007 categories include:

  1. New World Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese
  2. Hyatt Regency Auckland Champion Feta Cheese
  3. Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese
  4. Champion Goat Cheese
  5. Champion Sheep Cheese
  6. Ecolab Champion Washed Rind Cheese
  7. Hally Labels Champion Cheddar Cheese
  8. Foodtown Champion European Style Cheese
  9. Arnott’s Cheeseboard Champion Dutch Style Cheese
  10. Champion New Cheese
  11. Fonterra Champion Original NZ Cheese
  12. Champion Flavoured Cheese
  13. Hally Labels Champion Blue Cheese
  14. New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Champion Export Cheese
  15. New World Champion Favourite Cheese
  16. Curious Design Champion Cheese Packaging
  17. Taylor’s Port Champion Cheeseboard
  18. Curds & Whey Champion Hobbyist Cheese
  19. Katherine Mowbray Champion Hobbyist Cheesemaker
  20. F&B Champion Cheesemaker
  21. Saint Clair Estate Wines Champion of Champions

The Cuisine New Zealand Champion Cheese Awards 2007 will be judged on Sunday March 4, 2007 with winners announced at the Gala Dinner on Tuesday March 6, 2007 at The Hyatt Regency Auckland. Cheese Fest takes place on Wednesday March 7, 2007 from 5-7pm at The Floating Pavilion. Tickets are available through Ticket Master, 09 9709700 or


Prepared on behalf of the NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Association by Goode PR, Auckland. For further information, images or interviews: please contact Connie Clarkson on 09 480 9948 or email

Media release – 07 Nov 2006

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