Food and Drink Wales announced as headline sponsor for Virtual Cheese Awards

Sarah de Wit, founder of the Virtual Cheese Awards, with the 2020 Best British cheeses

The Virtual Cheese Awards, a pioneering online award event which celebrates the best of British cheese, has announced Food and Drink Wales as its headline sponsor for 2021.

The 2021 Virtual Cheese Awards in association with Food and Drink Wales will take place for a second year on Friday 7 May 2021. There is only two weeks left to enter the awards with entries for the 42 classes closing promptly on 24 March 2021.

Interest in the UK’s first ever online-only cheese awards has been strong with 100s of entries already received and a raft of supporters from across the British food and dairy industry signing up to support the event.

The cheese awards celebrate the diversity and quality of British dairy as well as nurturing future talent to help promote a sustainable and thriving industry. It aims to create a unifying platform that supports all elements of the cheese industry– from cheesemakers and cheesemongers and everyone in between.

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I’m delighted that Food and Drink Wales are the headline partner of the 2021 Virtual Cheese Awards, which promotes and celebrates excellence within the industry.

“We have a proud tradition of cheese-making in Wales and it forms a major part of our booming food and drink industry. From artisan to larger producers, we boast an impressive list of award-winning cheeses and I’m certain this will continue to grow over the coming years.

“I’m sure that this year’s event will once again be a roaring success and I would urge producers from across the country to get their entries in by the deadline.”

Sarah de Wit, founder of the Virtual Cheese Awards and Cheese & Dairy consultant said: “We’re incredibly proud to partner with Food and Drink Wales as they become our headline sponsor. We are excited to see all the wonderful Welsh cheeses that will join the other innovative cheeses being produced across the United Kingdom.

“We run the Awards on a not-for-profit basis so the more businesses who support us with sponsorship means we can raise even more money for our bursary fund with the Specialist Cheesemakers Association. This will help support British cheesemakers who are facing financial challenges in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as invest in innovative cheese producers coming into the market.”

The Virtual Cheese Awards has 400 individual entries available across nine categories making a total of 42 individual classes. Categories include Best Cheddar Cheese, Best Territorial, Best Blue and Best Speciality cheese as well as a new Dairy Free category for dairy-free and vegan products. An overall Best of British Cheese will be chosen from the winners of the main cheese categories.

This year sees the introduction of a new Recognising Excellence category that includes three classes including Most Innovative Cheese Packaging, Sustainability in Cheese production and Cheese Hero given to someone who has gone over and above to support the cheese industry.

Sarah de Wit adds: “We have bolstered the prize for the 2021 event so the Best of British cheese will walk away with almost £10,000 worth of support for its business. It includes free editorial in the top food magazines in the UK, a free spot at Speciality & Fine Food Fair, Academy of Cheese course and a surprise prize from Selfridges.”

For more information on the Virtual Cheese Awards including how to enter, sponsor and a list of events, log on to: www.virtualcheeseawards.com.

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