Food & Drink

World Cheese Awards 2009

Ash-covered cheese from Quebec takes titles of World Champion Cheese 2009.

A Canadian goat’s milk cheese, Le Cendrillon, saw off nearly 2,500 other competitors to take the title of World Champion Cheese 2009 yesterday – the second year in a row that a goats’ milk cheese has taken the top spot.

MARATHON TASTING SESSION

The annual competition, run by the UK’s Guild of Fine Food, was staged this year in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. It was only the second time the awards have been held outside Britain in their 21-year history. Over 150 judges from 24 countries, including Mexico, South Africa and Australia, sampled 2,440 entries in a marathon tasting session before choosing the winner. Around 140 cheeses from around the world were also given gold awards, including 29 British cheeses, two of which were named among the 10 best in the world.

* Saint Giles, an organic cow’s milk cheese produced by High Weald Dairy in East Sussex, was placed 5th out of nearly 2,500 entries. St Giles is a semi-soft creamy cheese in the style of a St Paulin

* The traditional Blue Stilton from Long Clawson Dairy in Leicestershire came ninth.

* Long Clawson picked up a total of four gold medals, closely followed by another Stilton producer, Quenby Hall, which took three.

* Cornwall’s Lynher Dairies took gold for both its entries, Cornish Yarg and Garlic Yarg, and cheddar makers Keen’s and Dairy Crest took two apiece.

Guild of Fine Food national director Bob Farrand said: “This was the most international team of judges ever assembled, with representatives from four continents involved in choosing the World Champion. It’s the largest and most cosmopolitan cheese awards scheme on the planet.”

THE WINNING CHEESE

Le Cendrillon is made by La Maison Alexis de Portneuf in Québec, Canada and was entered by Saputo. The ash-covered cheese has a marble-textured rind, a smooth, ivory-coloured body and a fairly strong, acidic taste that is said to become more pronounced as the cheese matures.
 
Winner of the Felix Garcia Trophy for Best Canary Islands Cheese was Finca de Uga, whose Bodega Oveja hard cheese is produced on a farm on the volcanic island of Lanzarote. Last year’s World Champion Cheese was from a Canary Island co-operative.
 
This year’s awards formed part of a wider global event organised by the Guild of Fine Food, including an international cheese conference and the World Cheese Festival, an exhibition of cheese and other speciality foods for trade and consumers. Per capita cheese consumption in the Canaries is among the highest in Europe.
 
THE GUILD OF FINE FOOD

The Guild of Fine Food promotes excellence in speciality food and drink through its magazines, training programmes, awards, exhibitions and other food events.
The Guild of Fine Food is the trade organisation of the UK speciality food & drink sector, with a membership of around 1,300 fine food retailers, producers and distributors. As well as running the World Cheese Awards, it organises the Great Taste Awards, which attract around 5,000 product entries annually.

4th October 09