Lineup announced for Virtual Cheese Awards 2021

Virtual Cheese Awards 2020 winners cheeseboard Photograph by Richard Walker/ImageNorth

The Virtual Cheese Awards in association with Food & Drink Wales is back for a second year to celebrate Great British cheese.

The event is the world’s first cheese awards to be judged live online and it will take place on Friday 7 May 2021 from 11am-4pm. The programme is packed with cheese-related interviews, panels and tastings aimed at demystifying and celebrating British cheese and its producers. Profits from the awards will be donated to the Specialist Cheesemakers Association to fund its bursary fund to financially support specialist British cheesemakers.

The stars of the event are the expert cheese judges who will be tasting, sniffing, inspecting and scoring a whole range of British cheese across seven categories including Best British Cheddar, Best British Blue and Best British Artisan Soft cheese.

The day will culminate with a final judging of the final top-scoring seven cheeses at 3pm and the crowning of Britain’s Best Cheese at 3.30pm.

Sarah de Wit, founder of the Virtual Cheese Awards and Cheese & Dairy consultant said: “We’re really proud to be running the Virtual Cheese Awards for a second year and are able to celebrate and reward the most innovative and exciting cheeses being made in Britain today. It’s been a tough year for the whole industry, but the resilience, creativity and passion of cheesemakers has really shone through. We can’t wait to see who wins this year’s Best British Cheese!”

The judges include Druv Baker, co-founder of Tempus Foods and Masterchef winner, Tracey Colley founding director of Academy of Cheese, Sam Wilkin, head cheesemonger at the Cheese Bar Group, Perry Wakeman, head of cheese at Rennet & Rind, Emma Young The Cheese Explorer, Holly Shackleton, editor of Speciality Food magazine and cheese buyers from Selfridges and M&S.

The event is being hosted by food and drink broadcaster and all-round local food champion, Nigel Barden who will be chatting to people from all areas of the cheese industry including, Richard Clothier, MD of Wyke Farms, Greg Parsons, owner of Sharpham Cheese and Mark Pitts-Tucker, head cheese grader at Davidstow.

There will also be a discussion looking back at the Year that Challenged British Cheese with Andy Swinscoe, The Courtyard Dairy, Steven and George Fletcher from Berkswell cheese and Philippa Christer from Specialty & Fine Food Fair.

Gill Hall, owner and cheesemaker at Butler’s Farmhouse Cheeses will be sharing her cheese and cracker tips alongside Clare Styles from Peter’s Yard crackers.

Owen Davies, MD at Ty Caws will be celebrating his favourite Welsh cheeses with Nigel Barden and there will be a Savour the Flavour British Cheese and drinks pairing curated by George Beach, Mudwalls Food, George Lang, The Cheese Merchant, Sophie Buxton, Cheshire Cheese Company and James Richards, Vin Neuf.

A proportion of the event will be streamed live on the Virtual Cheese Award’s Facebook and YouTube channels (main stage). However, there is additional content on a HopIn site which will include all the judging. Tickets for this are available to buy for a charity donation of £5, £10, £15 or £20 with all proceeds donated to the Specialist Cheesemakers Association.

For more information, visit: virtualcheeseawards.com.

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