British blue cheese crowned Supreme Champion Cheese

A blue cheese made by Long Clawson Dairy was named Supreme Champion Cheese in Stafford, UK on Thursday 30 June. Shropshire Blue rose to the top as the best UK and international cheese at the International Cheese & Dairy Awards, which was held at Staffordshire County Showground as part of the three-day cheese and dairy event, combining a one-day trade show with a two day consumer festival – Love Cheese Live.

Produced by The Long Clawson Dairy co-operative established in 1911 that continues to be run by farmers and relies on local milk from over 41 farms in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to create a range of very special cheeses.

“We’re delighted that our small farming cooperative, where the craft and care of our master cheesemakers is so important to us, was recognised through our delicious Shropshire Blue entry. We’re still on high spirits after our win and are busy making space in our awards cabinet for the Supreme Champion Trophy!” said Bill Mathieson, managing director, Long Clawson Dairy.

Despite its name, Shropshire Blue isn’t made in Shropshire, nor has it ever been. It was originally made in Scotland and is now made in the Stilton producing regions of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire by Long Clawson Dairy. The cheeses are then matured for their full term of n a period of 10-12 weeks, it forms an orange-brown, natural rind and smooth texture. With a sharp, strong flavour and a bit tangy aroma, it is a vegetarian’s cheese having a fat content of 48%.

Dai Williams, head of judging at the International Cheese & Dairy Awards commented, “Once again we have had fantastic support from all aspects of our industry with 238 judges from all business sectors supporting us on the day. The effort to judge 4000 cheeses in 400 plus classes and get to the winner in four hours is a fantastic achievement by all.”

In a close-run final, the Supreme runner up was awarded to a goats cheese made by FrieslandCampina in Holland. The Supreme Champion Dairy Product (non-dairy) went to Fonterra for their culinary cream and Morrisons were awarded Supreme Cheese Retailer.

Ian Luxton, Chairman of the International Cheese & Dairy Awards, added: “As the ICDAs was founded over 125 years ago to showcase the work of the British and International cheesemakers, it gives me immense pleasure to see a cheesemaking business with such history taking top honours. It’s an incredible feat to stand out in a field of over 4,000 cheeses from every corner of the world, but Long Clawson clearly had everything: delivering an exceptional appearance, aroma, texture and flavour. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the sponsors, retailers, suppliers to the industry, competitors and trade for their continued support of this very special awards and one rich in heritage.”

The 125th International Cheese & Dairy Awards was bigger and more international than ever before, featuring over 4,000 entries. The competing classes represented countries from all around the world.

All entries were judged in a single day, as 238 experts considered appearance, texture, aroma, and flavour of the cheese, dairy and accompaniments. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Champion accolades were awarded first, before the Supreme Champions were reassessed to find this year’s trophy winners.

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