After judges smelled, crumbled and tasted their way through almost 300 New Zealand cheeses, the medal winners of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2020 have been announced.

Run by the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) for the 17th consecutive year, Australian Master Judge Russell Smith oversaw judging on Sunday 23rd February, working with a panel of 25 specialist judges.

NZSCA chair Neil Willman said the judges made special note of the quality and variety of cheese they assessed this year. He said changes to the way the Sabato Farmhouse Cheese and the Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker were judged led to more premium quality entries. The inaugural ‘Ignite Colleges Chefs’ Choice’ received more than 30 different entries representing a broad variety cheese types.

Particularly impressive this year was the number of cheeses assessed for ‘Big Chill Distribution Flavoured Cheese’ category. Retailers report double digit growth in flavoured cheese sales and kiwi cheesemakers are meeting this growing demand. Twenty six cheeses received medals in this category – with nine receiving gold, eight collecting silver and the final nine receiving bronze. Flavours included distinctively New Zealand combinations like; Barrys Bay Coldsmoked Manuka Havarti, innovations such as Gibbston Valley’s Sheep Cumin and global flavour favourites like; Clevedon Buffalo Garlic and Thyme Marinated Cheese and Meyer Cheese Garlic & Chives.

Italian style cheeses continue their popularity with cheese lovers and cheesemakers alike. The quality in the ‘Cheeselinks Fresh Italian Style Cheese’ category was recognised with the judges awarding 21 medals – the highest number in the gold and silver medal categories with eight and 10 respectively.

For the first time the judges were looking for three Supreme Champions. These champions and the other ‘NZ Champions of Cheese’ trophy winners will be announced at a four course gala dinner – featuring a selection of winning cheeses – at SkyCity Hamilton on Wednesday 6th May 2020. NZSCA is expecting 300 guests from throughout the country.

Kiwi cheese lovers are being called on to be part of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards too. Foodies are asked to nominate their favourite place to buy New Zealand cheese in the 180 degrees Favourite NZ Specialty Cheese Shopping Experience. This award recognises the supermarket, specialty food store, farmers’ market or cheese shop which provides amazing service for those buying New Zealand cheese. Stores which receive the most votes will be assessed by a specialist panel of judges and one will be named ‘180 degrees Favourite NZ Specialty Cheese Shopping Experience’ at the Awards ceremony in May.

NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2020 –  Gold Medal Winners

Fonterra Co-operative Group Original Cheese

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Kāpiti Awa Blue

Mercer Cheese, Mercer Fifty Fifty

Mercer Cheese, New Zealand Bush

 

ECOLAB Blue Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Peninsula Blue

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Kāpiti Kikorangi

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Kāpiti Kahurangi

Mahoe Cheese, Mahoe Farmhouse Blue

Puhoi Valley Cheese, Puhoi Pakiri Beach Blue

 

NZ Food Safety New Cheese

Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese, Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Moonstone

 

CHR Hansen Soft White Rind Cheese

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Kāpiti Kahikatea Camembert 125g

Thorvald, Thorvald Little River Brie

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Grinning Gecko Camembert

 

Kiwi Labels Greek/Cypriot Cheese

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Feta

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Mainland Crumbly Feta

Waimata Cheese, Waimata Cracked Pepper Haloumi

 

Cheeselinks Fresh Italian Style Cheese

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Oaxaca

Massimo’s Italian Cheeses,Burrata

Massimo’s Italian Cheeses, Ricotta

Massimo’s Italian Cheeses, Smoked Scamorza

Viavio Cheese, ViaVio Mozzarella

Viavio Cheese, ViaVio Burrata

ViaVio Cheese, ViaVio Mascarpone

ViaVio Cheese, ViaVio Stracchino

 

Dupont Danisco Fresh Unripened Cheese

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Anchor Food Professionals Cream Cheese

 

AsureQuality Dutch Style Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Edam

Mahoe Cheese, Mahoe Farmhouse Cumin Gouda

Mercer Cheese, Mercer Waikato Vintage

 

Delta Wines European Style Cheese

Karikaas Natural Dairy Products Ltd, Karikaas Maasdam

 

NZSCA Retail Cheddar Cheese

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Kāpiti Tuteremoana Te Tihi Aged Cheddar

 

NZSCA Bulk Cheddar Cheese

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Stirling NZMP Mild Cheddar

 

Sabato Farmhouse Cheese

The Drunken Nanny Ltd, Black Tie

 

Thermaflo Washed Rind

Over the Moon Dairy, Over the Moon Galactic Gold

 

Big Chill Distribution Flavoured Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Smoked Rinded Cheddar

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Chilli and Lime Marinated Cheese

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Garlic and Thyme Marinated Cheese

Karikaas Natural Dairy Products Ltd, Karikaas Pepper

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese Fenugreek

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese Cracked Pepper

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese Garlic & Chives

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese Smoked Gouda

Over the Moon Dairy, Over the Moon Black Truffle Brie

Waimata Cheese, Waimata Chilli Haloumi

 

Good George Brewing Goat Cheese

Anabelle Fine Fresh Cheeses, Fromage Frais – Goat

Aroha Organic Goat Cheese, Aroha Organic Raw Milk Rich Plain

Aroha Organic Goat Cheese, Aroha Raw Milk Cumin

Belle Chevre Creamery, Belle Chevre Creamery Chèvre

Belle Chevre Creamery, Belle Chevre Creamery  Manaia Ma

Belle Chevre Creamery, Belle Chevre Creamery Halloumi

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese Goats Milk Gouda

Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese, Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Halloumi

 

DISH Sheep Cheese

Anabelle Fine Fresh Cheeses, Fromage Frais

Craggy Range Sheep Dairy, Craggy Range Sheep Dairy Blue

Craggy Range Sheep Dairy, Craggy Range Sheep Dairy Feta

Gibbston Valley Cheese, Gibbston Valley New Balfour

Mercer Cheese, Mercer Pecorino

Over the Moon Dairy, Over the Moon The Black Sheep

Thorvald, Thorvald Curado

Thorvald, Thorvald Sheep Milk Camembert

ViaVio Cheese, ViaVio Pecorino

 

Renco New Zealand Export Cheese

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Lichfield NZMP, 3MC

                                       

Curds & Whey Homecrafted Cheese and Cheesemaker

Tony Hamblyn, Makauri Gold

 

Innovative Packaging Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Kauri NZMP Salted Butter Spreadable

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Morrinsville NZMP Salted Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Mainland Reduced Salt Buttersoft

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Mainland Semi-Soft Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Edgecumbe NZMP Unsalted Pastry Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Te Rapa NZMP Unsalted Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Kauri NZMP Unsalted Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Te Awamutu NZMP Unsalted Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Clandeboye NZMP Unsalted Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Clandeboye NZMP Unsalted Lactic Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Whareroa NZMP Unsalted Lactic Butter                         

                       

NZSCA Yoghurt

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Natural Yoghurt

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Vanilla Bean Yoghurt

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Passionfruit Yoghurt

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Lemon Zest Yoghurt          

 

NZ Champions of Cheese 2020 Silver Medal Winners

Fonterra Co-operative Group Original Cheese

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Kāpiti Ramara

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Hautapu NZMP Egmont

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Lichfield Mainland Egmont

Karikaas Natural Dairy Products Ltd, Karikaas Pumahana

 

ECOLAB Blue Cheese

Mount Eliza Cheese Ltd, Mount Eliza Blue Monkey

Puhoi Valley Cheese, Puhoi Valley Matakana Blue

Puhoi Valley Cheese, Puhoi Valley Distinction Blue

 

CHR Hansen Soft White Rind Cheese

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Grinning Gecko Brie

Over the Moon Dairy, Over the Moon Double Delight

Puhoi Valley Cheese, Puhoi Valley Double Cream Brie

Puhoi Valley Cheese, Puhoi Valley Te Muri Triple Cream Brie

Waimata Cheese, Waimata Traditional Camembert

 

Kiwi Labels Greek/Cypriot Cheese

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Mainland Haloumi

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Grinning Gecko Feta

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Grinning Gecko Halloumi

Waimata Cheese, Waimata Feta in Brine

Waimata Cheese, Waimata Traditional Haloumi

Wairiri Buffalo, Wairiri Buffalo Feta

 

Cheeselinks Fresh Italian Style Cheese

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Cherry Mozzarella

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Mozzarella

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Bocconcini

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Whareroa NZMP Premium Mozzarella

Massimo’s Italian Cheeses, Mozarella

Massimo’s Italian Cheeses,  Bocconcino

Massimo’s Italian Cheeses , Cherry Bocconcino

Massimo’s Italian Cheeses , Ovalina

Massimo’s Italian Cheeses , Mozzarella Log

Wairiri Buffalo, Wairiri Buffalo Burrata

 

AsureQuality Dutch Style Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Aged Gouda

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Gouda

Karikaas Natural Dairy Products Ltd, Karikaas Vintage Gouda

Karikaas Natural Dairy Products Ltd, Karikaas Leyden/Cumin

Mahoe Cheese, Mahoe Farmhouse Gouda

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese Tasty Gouda

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese Cumin Gouda

 

Delta Wines European Style Cheese

Fonterra Brands (NZ),  Kāpiti Kānuka Havarti

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese – Maasdam

Thorvald, Thorvald Little River Aged Swiss

 

NZSCA Retail Cheddar Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Onawe

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Coldsmoked Appletree Cheddar

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Kāpiti Tuteremoana Te Tihi Aged Cheddar

 

NZSCA Bulk Cheddar Cheese

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Hautapu Mainland Tasty

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Hautapu NZMP Organic Cheddar

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Lichfield Mainland Tasty

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Lichfield Mainland Vintage

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Stirling NZMP Colby

 

Sabato Farmhouse Cheese

Aroha Organic Goat Cheese, Aroha Raw Milk Pepperazzi

Mahoe Cheese, Mahoe Montbeliarde

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese – Mild Gouda

Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese, Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Full Moon

The Drunken Nanny Ltd, The Drunken Nanny Dill Lush

Waimata Cheese, Waimata Sheep Milk Feta

 

Thermaflo Washed Rind

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Grinning Gecko Marore

 

Big Chill Distribution Flavoured Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Peppered Havarti

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Wood Smoke

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Coldsmoked Manuka Havarti

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Truffled Porcini and Pepper Tartinade

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Kāpiti Smoked Havarti

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Kāpiti Chilli and Garlic Triple Cream Cheese

Fonterra Brands (NZ), Kāpiti Herb and Garlic Triple Cream Cheese

Hohepa Farms, Hohepa Herb and Garlic

 

Good George Brewing Goat Cheese

Aroha Organic Goat Cheese, Aroha Organic Raw Milk Fenugreek

Belle Chevre Creamery, Belle Chevre Creamery Herbed Chevre

Belle Chevre Creamery, Belle Chevre Creamery Marinated Goat Cheese

Cranky Goat Ltd, Cranky Goat The Lynton

Cranky Goat Ltd, Cranky Goat Ltd The Reginald

Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese, Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Feta

Over the Moon Dairy, Over the Moon Goat Camembert

The Drunken Nanny Ltd, The Drunken Nanny Lemony Lush

 

DISH Sheep Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Pecorino

Waimata Cheese, Waimata Sheep Milk Blue

 

Curds & Whey Homecrafted Cheese and Cheesemaker

Bri Di Mattina, Herbed Fromage Blanc

Dianne Anderson, Cumin Gouda

 

Innovative Packaging Butter

Bellefield Butter Co, Bellefield Cultured Butter Miso Flavoured

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Anchor Salted Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Anchor Food Professionals Unsalted Pastry Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Kauri NZMP Unsalted Pastry Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Whareroa NZMP Unsalted Butter

 

NZSCA Yoghurt

Belle Chevre Creamery, Belle Chevre Creamery Greek Style Yoghurt

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Boysenberry Yoghurt

Goats Amore, Goats Amore Yoghurt

The Cheese Barn, The Cheese Barn Organic Greek Yoghurt

Thorvald, Thorvald Sheep Milk Yoghurt

 

NZ Champions of Cheese 2020 Bronze Medal Winners

Fonterra Co-operative Group Original Cheese

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Grinning Gecko Haurangi

 

ECOLAB Blue Cheese

Gibbston Valley Cheese, Gibbston Valley Kawarau Blue

Puhoi Valley Cheese, Puhoi Valley Kawau Blue

Waimata Cheese, Waimata Traditional Blue

 

NZ Food Safety New Cheese

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Lichfield NZMP Cheddarsan

Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese, Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Yellowstone

 

CHR Hansen Soft White Rind Cheese

Fonterra Brands (NZ) , Mainland Special Reserve Double Cream Camembert

Fonterra Brands (NZ) , Mainland Special Reserve Double Cream Brie

Over the Moon Dairy, Over the Moon Camembert

Puhoi Valley Cheese, Puhoi Valley Wainui Creamy White

 

Cheeselinks Fresh Italian Style Cheese

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Stracchiatella

Massimo’s Italian Cheeses, Buffalo Mozzarella

Wairiri Buffalo, Wairiri Buffalo Bocconcini

 

Dupont Danisco Fresh Unripened Cheese

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Darfield NZMP Cream Cheese

 

AsureQuality Dutch Style Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Aged Cumin Gouda

Fonterra Brands (NZ) , Kāpiti Cumin Seed Gouda

Fonterra Brands (NZ) , Kāpiti Gouda

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Hautapu NZMP Gouda

Mahoe Cheese, Mahoe Farmhouse Very Old Edam

Mercer Cheese, Mercer Mature

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese Vintage Gouda

Meyer Cheese, Meyer Cheese Amsterdammer

The Cheese Barn, The Cheese Barn Organic Gouda

The Cheese Barn, The Cheese Barn Organic Cumin Seed Gouda

 

AsureQuality Dutch Style Cheese

The Cheese Barn, The Cheese Barn Organic Garlic & Chives Gouda

 

Delta Wines European Style Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Havarti

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Gruyere

Cartwheel Creamery, Smokey Stewart

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Woolleys Bay

Massimo’s Italian Cheeses, Provolone

Mercer Cheese, Albert’s Favourite

ViaVio Cheese, ViaVio Caciocavallo

 

NZSCA Retail Cheddar Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Wainui Special Vintage Cheddar

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Coldsmoked Pohutukawa Red

Fonterra Brands (NZ),  Kāpiti Pakari Aged Cheddar

Fonterra Brands (NZ) , Kāpiti Pakari Smoked Cheddar

Mount Eliza Cheese Ltd, Raw Milk Cheddar

 

NZSCA Bulk Cheddar Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Mature Rinded Cheddar

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Hautapu NZMP Noble Cheddar

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Lichfield NZMP Vintage Cheddar

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Stirling NZMP Vintage Cheddar

 

NZSCA Bulk Cheddar Cheese

Open Country Dairy, Mature Cheddar

Open Country Dairy, Export Cheddar

 

Sabato Farmhouse Cheese

Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese, Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cloud

Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese, Nieuwenhuis Farmstead OMA

The Drunken Nanny Ltd, The Drunken Nanny Cheeky Camembert

The Drunken Nanny Ltd, The Drunken Nanny Fresh Lush

 

Thermaflo Washed Rind

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Grinning Gecko Kau Piro

Thorvald, Thorvald Little River Wildfire

Viavio Cheese, ViaVio Fontal

 

Big Chill Distribution Flavoured Cheese

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Cumin Spice

Barrys Bay Cheese, Barrys Bay Live Chive

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Herb and Garlic Tartinade

Clevedon Buffalo Co, Clevedon Buffalo Smoked Paprika Tartinade

Gibbston Valley Cheese, Gibbston Valley Sheep Cumin

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Grinning Gecko Cumin & Garlic

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Grinning Gecko Caraway Seed

Grinning Gecko Cheese Company, Grinning Gecko Hot Chilli

Hohepa Farms, Hohepa Danbo Fenugreek

 

Good George Brewing Goat Cheese

Cranky Goat Ltd, Cranky Goat Cullensville Gold

Over the Moon Dairy, Over the Moon Goat Blue

 

Renco New Zealand Export Cheese

Open Country Dairy, Tasty

 

Curds & Whey Homecrafted Cheese and Cheesemaker

Dianne Anderson, Washed Rind

Glen Brogden, Camembert

Tony Hamblyn, Makauri Fenugreek Gouda

 

Innovative Packaging Butter

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Mainland Buttersoft Spreadable

Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Kauri NZMP Unsalted Lactic Butter

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