Virtual Cheese Awards announces British cheese line up for live Final
Image: Virtual Cheese Awards
The UK’s only 100% online cheese awards, the Virtual Cheese Awards which supports and celebrates the best of British cheese and its producers, is announcing the line-up for its LIVE Final on Wednesday 17 May 2023.
The Virtual Cheese Awards 2023 LIVE final will be held from 10.30am to 5pm and will be hosted by broadcaster and local food and drink champion, Nigel Barden. It will be broadcast live on the Virtual Awards website – virtualcheeseawards.com/live-
Eleven of the UK’s leading cheese experts will judge 30+ British cheeses across seven categories – Cheddar, Blue, Enhanced, Territorial, Speciality, Artisan Hard and Artisan Soft – live on camera for all to see.
This will culminate in the Supreme Final where the winners of the seven categories will be inspected, sniffed, tweaked, rolled and tasted to declare the Best of British Supreme Champion Cheese.
There will also be interviews and panels with British cheesemakers, retailers, affineurs and cheese buyers. Roger Longman, owner of Somerset-based multi-award-winning White Lake Cheese will take part in the Big Cheese interview (11.30am) with Nigel Barden. They’ll discuss how Roger, a third generation farmer, continues to innovate by producing amazing artisan British cheese.
There will be a panel discussing the retail opportunities for British cheese (1.05pm) with Sarah Miness, cheese buyer at Waitrose, Bronwen Percival, Cheese Buyer at Neals Yard Dairy and Marcus Fergusson and Penny Nagle from double Virtual Cheese Award Supreme Champions, Feltham’s Farm.
Curlew Dairy, a micro dairy which launched in 2022 making traditional small-batch raw milk Wensleydale cheese actually in Wensleydale, Yorkshire, will chat (3pm) about their journey to winning Silver at the World Cheese Awards and how they make cheese in a 6x3m garage!
Sarah de Wit, co-founder of Virtual Cheese Awards said: “Our expert cheese judges who work in some of the UK’s most prestigious dairies, cheese mongers and supermarkets spent 26 hours whittling 250 cheeses to just over 30 finalists. The Final is the culmination of this where we’ll learn more about what makes a Great British cheese across seven categories.
“British cheese is going through a renaissance, and this is reflected in the entrants we have seen this year, with lots of new and innovative cheese coming from artisan producers. It’s a great day for anyone who loves British cheese and wants to learn more about it.
Judges include cheese buyers from supermarkets Waitrose and Morrisons and independent cheese retailers No2 Pound Street, Blas ar Fwyd and & Caws. Along with affineurs from Rennet & Rind, Paxton & Whitfield, Neals Yard Dairy, Rennet & Rind, Ornua and Harvey & Brockless. They will be joined by cheese aficionados Emma Young, aka The Cheese Explorer and Charlie Turnbull from the Academy of Cheese.
Richard Clothier, MD Wyke Farms will announce the winners of the Recognising Excellence Awards which celebrate the people behind the cheese. There are three awards including Cheese Hero and New Cheesemaker along with the Sustainability trophy.
With over 250 entries into this year’s awards, the Virtual Cheese Awards, now in its fourth year, is yet again doing an extraordinary job to showcase amazing British cheesemakers.
Nigel Barden, host of the Virtual Cheese Awards said: “Cheese is something that in this country that we do well, really well in fact. It is an industry full of innovators and inspiring people who are truly passionate about making great cheese and they deserve all the praise we can give them!”
Anyone can join in on the cheese fun by tuning into the free live stream on the day of the event which will be available from the Virtual Cheese Award’s website, Youtube and Facebook from 10:30am-5pm. The link to the page is: virtualcheeseawards.com/live-
The Supreme Best of British Champion cheese will win:
- Free editorial features and digital coverage in Great British Food magazine worth £1,500
- Opportunity to have the winning cheese showcased at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair by the VCA team worth approximately £5,000
- A Level 1 Academy of Cheese courses and a year’s subscription worth over £300
- Potential listing in Waitrose
- A stall at Chiswick Cheese Market for 1 month.
The 2022 Best of British Champion cheese was won by Keens Cheddar’s traditional raw milk extra mature cheddar. As a result of its award-win, it won a listing on Booths’ cheese counter, which helps to bring the cheese to even more consumers.
Keen’s Cheddar is made by James Keen and family using milk from their own herd of cows fed on the lush pasture around their Somerset farm. The clothbound cheddar is matured for at least 12 months giving it a rich creamy flavour.
For more information on the Virtual Cheese Awards log on to: www.virtualcheeseawards.com
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