The New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) is calling for entries for the revitalised NZ Champions of Cheese Awards which will be judged in February 2019.
The Specialist Cheesemakers Association has been running the awards since 2003 and will judge the 16th annual NZ Champions of Cheese Awards at the AUT School of Hospitality and Tourism on Sunday 24 February 2019. Cheesemakers vying for one of the 23 cheese trophies must complete their online entries by Friday 8 February 2019.
NZSCA chair, Neil Willman says the Board has undertaken a comprehensive review of the judging process. “We have listened to members and we are pleased to introduce two exciting new awards for 2019; Champion Fresh Italian Style Cheese and Best Specialty Cheese Shopping Experience to recognise and encourage excellence in educating consumers about speciality cheese.”
“Butter and yoghurt judging are being reintroduced after a brief hiatus and for the first time all cheeses will be judged by a panel of three. Additionally, we are making it easier for small cheesemakers to enter by reducing the amount of cheese they need to supply.”
Cheese lovers are invited to support the industry by being involved in the awards, with three opportunities to participate. For the first time, foodies will be invited to nominate their favourite speciality cheese retailer. The public can vote for their favourite Gold Medal winning cheese in the New World Cheese Lovers Choice Vote from 26 March to 16 May. Amateur cheesemakers are invited to enter their cheese for judging in the Curds & Whey Champion Homecrafted category.
Neil Willman said he was delighted Master Judge Russell Smith of Australia will again preside over the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards judging.
Mr Willman made special mention of the Awards sponsors. The awards would not be possible without those businesses which support our industry and we are grateful for their generous contributions.
The NZ Champions of Cheese Trophies are:
- Countdown Champion of Champions (Commercial)
- Puhoi Valley Champion of Champions (Boutique Cheese Producer)
- Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker
- ECOLAB Champion Blue Cheese
- CHR Hansen Champion Soft White Rind Cheese
- Kiwi Labels Champion Feta
- Green Valley Dairies Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese
- Curds & Whey Champion Homecrafted Cheesemaker
- Innovative Packaging Aspiring Cheesemaker
- Massey University Sheep Milk NZ Champion Sheep Cheese
- Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind
- Caspak Champion Packaging
- Eurofins Champion European Style Cheese
- Delta Wines Champion Flavoured Cheese
- New World Cheese Lovers' Choice
- Sacco Systems Champion Fresh Italian Style Cheese
- Tetra Pak Champion Cheddar Award
- Champion Goat Cheese
- Champion Original Cheese
- Champion New Cheese Award
- Champion Export
- Champion Dutch Style Cheese
- Champion Farmhouse Cheese
- Champion Butter
- Champion Yoghurt
- Best Specialty Cheese Shopping Experience
Cheese will be judged in Auckland on Sunday 24 February 2019 and medal winners will be announced in March. The announcement of 26 Trophy Winners will be at a three-course gala dinner – featuring some of the winning cheeses - at the Distinction Hamilton Hotel and Conference Centre on Tuesday 21 May. NZSCA is expecting more than 200 guests from throughout the country at the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2019.
Online entry is via the NZSCA website nzsca.org.nz