Top cheesemakers celebrated

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Blue River Dairy has taken out a handful of medals at this year’s New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

Twenty-one category winners were announced at a gala dinner in Auckland last week, following a two-day cheese competition.

Blue River Dairy produces a range of sheep milk products and achieved a silver medal for its Curio Bay Pecorino and a bronze medal for its Blackmount Cheddar in the NZ Chefs Association Champion Sheep Cheese Award. It also achieved a bronze for its Monowai Halloumi in the Eurofins NZ Champion European Style Cheese Award and the Tussock Creek Feta in the Kiwi Labels Champion Feta Cheese Award.

The New Zealand cheeses were judged by a contingent of 34 international and local cheese experts. There were more than 370 entries.

Two Waikato-based New Zealand cheesemakers of Dutch origin claimed the top prizes with new cheeses – the Smoked Goat Gouda by Meyer Gouda Cheese the Countdown Champion of Champions (Commercial), and Fifty Fifty by Mercer Cheese was awarded as the Puhoi Valley Champion of Champions (Artisan).

Master judge Russell Smith said Dutch Kiwis had a growing reputation for making inspirational cheeses with New Zealand milks.

“The 2017 champions are great examples of this expertise.”

Now in its 14th year, the awards are held annually by the NZ Specialist Cheese Association to honour excellence in cheese making.

A full list of award winners and medallists is available on www.cheeselovers.co.nz

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