Golden Cross from the Golden Cross Cheese Company has been named the Best British Cheese, sponsored by the Academy of Cheese, at the 31st edition of the World Cheese Awards in Bergen, Norway following a record breaking 3,472 entries being judged in a single day at the city’s iconic Grieg Hall.
Produced in East Sussex, this log shaped and lightly charcoaled goat’s cheese achieved a Super Gold rating and made the final 16 alongside this year’s top cheeses. Other honours around the UK went to Celtic Promise from Caws Teifi Cheese, which picked up the Best Welsh Cheese trophy, sponsored by The Abergavenny Creamery, and Arran Blue from the Island Cheese Company, which was named Best Scottish Cheese.
Visiting Norway for the first time this year to form part of the brand new food festival, Matnasjonen Norge, the World Cheese Awards judged entries from over 40 different countries on Friday 2 November. Nine hours of judging later, the Super Jury named Fanaost, made by Norwegian cheesemaker, Ostegården, World Champion Cheese 2018, after the aged gouda stood out at every stage of the blind tasting process.
With a total of 12 Super Gold, 53 Gold, 84 Silver and 93 Bronze awards going to entries from Britain this year, the World Cheese Awards has once again provided an internationally recognised seal of approval for many of the UK’s cheesemakers. Among the other winners bringing awards back the UK are a Super Gold winning Cornish Blue from the Cornish Cheese Co, a Gold winning Corra Linn from Errington Cheese and a Gold winning Abergavenny British Soft Goat’s Cheese from The Abergavenny Fine Foods Co.
Records were broken across the board this year, as more nations than ever before entered cheeses into the world’s biggest cheese-only event. Representing 41 different countries, entries made their way by boat, truck, train and plane via 12 consolidation points around the world, from places including Brazil, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and the USA. 235 judges from 30 countries then tasted, nosed and graded cheeses from six continents, giving Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards to worthy entries.
As 3,472 eventually became 16, the crowds then watched on as the International Super Jury debated the world’s top cheese. Made up of the finest palates from the international cheese community, this year’s panel featured cheese makers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs, retailers and writers. Judges including José Pizarro, critically acclaimed Spanish chef, Cathy Strange, global executive coordinator for Whole Foods Market in the USA, Claus Meyer, co-founder of Noma in Denmark, and Nick Tsioros, owner of Olympic Cheese in Toronto, all put forward their chosen cheeses live on World Cheese TV, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.
World Cheese Awards 2018 – the background
- The World Cheese Awards is organised by the Guild of Fine Food
- 2018 was the 31st edition of the competition Top of Form
- The planet’s biggest ‘cheese-only’ competition – no yoghurt, cream, butter or other dairy – championing the world’s best cheesemakers, from tiny artisans to global heavyweights
- 3,472 cheeses from 41 different countries entered – including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA and Wales
- 235 judges from across the globe travelled from 30 different countries to nose, taste and grade the cheese
- Judging broadcast live on World Cheese TV at www.gff.co.uk/wca
- A Super Jury of 16 judges decided the final winning World Champion Cheese
How the judging works
Judges work in teams of three to four, identifying any cheeses worthy of a Bronze, Silver or Gold award. They look at the rind and the body of the cheese, its colour, texture, consistency and, above all, its taste. Each team then nominates one exceptional cheese as the Super Gold from their table. These 78 cheeses are the best in the world and are judged a second time by the Super Jury of 16 internationally recognised experts, who each select a cheese to champion in the final round of judging. The Super Jury, representing all four corners of the globe, then debates the final 16 in front of a live consumer and trade audience, before choosing the World Champion Cheese live on WCA TV.
Matnasjonen Norge is a brand new Norwegian food event, which took place on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 November at the Grieg Hall in Bergen. Featuring a food festival, conference sessions, presentations and tasting tours, the event gives the country’s producers and chefs a platform to showcase their food and drink and shine a spotlight on the quiet culinary revolution that has taken place in Norway over recent years.
Founded by HANEN, an organisation which champions the best that the Norwegian countryside has to offer, with support from Norway’s Minister of Agriculture and Food, Bård Hoksrud, and the Bergen city government, the festival featured respected industry experts, celebrity chefs and a wide range of artisan producers, bringing hundreds of Norwegian foodservice professionals, buyers, retailers and consumers together in celebration of Norwegian food and drink.