Quicke’s wins People’s Choice Award at the Great British & Irish Cheddar Challenge

Devon-based cheesemaker, Quicke’s has landed the People’s Choice Award at the first ever Great British & Irish Cheddar Challenge, with its Extra Mature Clothbound Cheddar receiving the most votes during a live public poll. Streamed from Bra, Italy, on Saturday 16 September during the 14th edition of Slow Food’s Cheese festival, the Cheddar Challenge saw cheese lovers, cheesemakers, cheesemongers and commentators come together for an epic celebration of artisan cheddar.

Hosted by founder, James Grant of No2 Pound Street in Buckinghamshire, and comedian and curd nerd, Marcus Brigstocke, the Cheddar Challenge saw thousands of people tuning in for a live tutored tasting, having purchased special tasting boxes of six artisan cheddars from cheesemongers across the UK. Taking viewers on a journey through soil health, pastures, cows, milk, cheesemaking, maturation and much more, the Cheddar Challenge then invited participants to vote for the nation’s favourite cheddar.

Following a live online vote, Quicke’s Extra Mature Clothbound Cheddar, made by Mary Quicke in Newton St. Cyres, Devon, topped the list, which also included; Hafod, made by the Holden family in Ceredigion, Wales; Isle of Mull, made by Brendan Reade near Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, Scotland; Montgomery’s Cheddar, made by Jamie Montgomery in North Cadbury, Somerset; Mount Leinster, made by Tom Burgess in West Wicklow, Ireland; and Pitchfork Cheddar, made by the Trethowan Brothers in North Somerset.

Mary Quicke MBE of Quicke’s commented: “I’m so excited to win the Great British & Irish Cheddar Challenge, amongst so many wonderful cheddars. I’m so proud of our cows that make the lovely milk and our team that produce and mature the cheese that so many people voted for. Thank you!”

James Grant, founder of the Great British & Irish Cheddar Challenge and owner of No2 Pound Street in Buckinghamshire, added: “It was truly special to bring some of the UK and Ireland’s greatest cheddar makers together and to share this with cheese lovers everywhere. The event offered a wonderful insight into what makes traditional artisan cheddar so amazing, from the work that’s being done to regenerate the soil and nurture the land, right through to producing exceptional artisan cheddar, with all of its nuanced flavours, varied textures and the joy that these bring. I’d like to say an enormous thank you to everyone involved and it was an honour to stream the Cheddar Challenge live from Slow Food’s prestigious Cheese festival in Bra. Well done to everyone at Quicke’s, although I hope artisan cheddar will be our biggest winner.”

The Great British & Irish Cheddar Challenge featured cheese experts including; Charlie Turnbull, a director and patron of The Academy of Cheese; Emma Young, a cheese specialist, consultant and author; Patrick McGuigan, cheese author, journalist, educator and judge; Sarah De Wit, founder of the Virtual Cheese Awards; Abigail Pitcher from Chiswick Cheese Market; Jonathan Pearcey of The Crafty Cheese Man, a wholesale artisan cheese supplier; Dhruv Baker, charcutier and MasterChef winner; and Lauren Collier AKA yourcheeseconcierge, a cheese specialist from Tampa, Florida.

Great British & Irish Cheddar Challenge founder, James Grant is currently writing his debut book, The Greatest Cheese in the World: A History of Cheddar, due to be published in 2024.

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