Champions of Cheese Awards celebrate 20th year –

Kiwi cheesemakers have until Monday February 20 to enter the 2023 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.

Celebrating a milestone of 20 years of recognizing and promoting NZ Cheese, the awards will be judged at Wintec Rotokauri Campus on the weekend of March 4 & 5.

Medal winners will be named on Tuesday March 28 and the champions announced at the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Gala Dinner to be held in Hamilton on 4 May 2023.

Calling for entries for 2023, Chair of the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) Simon Lamb said, “celebrating 20 years of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards is a wonderful milestone.”

While Kiwis’ palates have evolved over the past two decades and we are more adventurous with flavour, many things remain the same. The inaugural 2004 NZ Champions of Cheese Champion of Champions Supreme Award was Mainland Ferndale Raclette.

Twenty years on, the Mainland remains a staple of the local cheese industry. However, it has been joined by a number of boutique cheesemakers specializing in crafting artisan cheese from goat, buffalo, sheep and deer milk as well as the widely used cow milk.”

The NZ Champions of Cheese has evolved over time and reflects our changing industry. For example last year we added the Countdown Sustainability Award to encourage the industry to continue to find new opportunities for ethical and sustainable business.

Simon Lamb is encouraging all NZ cheesemakers, whether they are members of the Association or not, to enter this special anniversary of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.

Master Judge, Jason Tarrant will again be president over the panel of 30 judges. Over the past couple of months Jason has hosted a judges’ training session and another will be held before the Awards judging.

“The NZSCA is working on building the skills of judges to ensure we have talented, well-trained judges who recognize the attributes of great NZ cheese. Additionally, we want to increase our pool of judging talent by training the next generation to assess NZ cheese with confidence and skill.”

In 2022 the NZ Champions of Cheese judged more than 380 cheeses, awarding 254 medals – 76 Gold Medals, 120 Silver Medals and 58 Bronze Medals.

the NZ Champions of Cheese 2023 Trophies are:

  • Countdown Champion of Champions (Commercial)
  • New World Champion of Champions (Mid-sized)
  • Puhoi Valley Champion of Champions (Boutique)
  • MilkTest NZ Champion Cheesemaker
  • Fonterra Cooperative Group Champion Original Cheese
  • ECOLAB Champion Blue Cheese
  • Champion New Cheese
  • CHR Hansen Champion Soft White Rind Cheese
  • Kiwi Labels Champion Greek-Style Cheese
  • Cheeselinks Champion Fresh Italian-Style Cheese
  • Wintec Te Pūkenga Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese
  • Champion Dutch-Style Cheese
  • IXOM Champion European-Style Cheese
  • Sabato Champion Farmhouse Cheese
  • Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese
  • Champion Flavored Aged Cheese
  • Champion Flavored Fresh Cheese
  • Tetra sir Champion Retail Cheddar Cheese
  • Champion Bulk Cheddar Cheese
  • Champion Goat’s Milk Cheese
  • dish magazines Champion Sheep’s Milk Cheese
  • Dominion Salt Champion Export Cheese

Special Awards

  • New World Cheese Lovers’ Choice
  • Rutherford & Meyer Chefs’ Choice
  • Countdown Sustainability Award
  • innovative Packaging Aspiring Cheesemaker

Online entry is via the NZSCA website

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