World Cheese Awards heads to Portugal for the first time

The Guild of Fine Food announces that the World Cheese Awards 2024 will be held in Viseu, Portugal this November.

Key dates for the 2024 World Cheese Awards are as follows:

  • Open for entry: Thursday 13 June
  • Closed for entry: Monday 16 September
  • Cheeses staged: Thursday 14 November
  • Judges arrive: Thursday 14 November
  • Judging: Friday 15 November
  • Cheese festival for consumers: Friday 15 – Sunday 17 November
  • Results available: Saturday 16 November
  • Trophy winners available: Monday 18 November

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the competition, says: “We’re excited to be taking the World Cheese Awards to a new host country and region, delivering the event with the city of Viseu on the 36th edition of the awards.”

“Located in the heart of the Dão wine region, Viseu has a rich food and drink culture making it a fitting location for Portugal’s inaugural World Cheese Awards. The event brings together the global cheese trade and is unique in promoting international relations in the dairy industry. It will, once again, bring together the most important international cheese experts and the world’s best cheeses.” Farrand concludes.

Bruno Filipe Costa, speciality food expert and the inspiration behind bringing the project to Portugal, added: “Viseu is the capital city of the Beira region, a region with a strong cheese heritage. Located in the heart of Portugal the region has an enviable food and drink culture combining tradition and excellence. The terroir and cheese making history here is illustrated by our most famous cheese, Queijo Serra da Estrela, a raw sheep’s milk cheese, coagulated with thistle rennet.”

Gastronomic journalist, Paulo Salvador, who is involved in the team bringing the World Cheese Awards to Portugal, comments: “We are looking forward to welcoming the international cheese community to Viseu. Portugal and the Serra da Estrela region hide genuine culinary gems that will surprise producers, traders, and cheese lovers.”

This will be the 36th year of the World Cheese Awards, the largest ‘cheese only’ event of its kind. Last year, the competition held in Trondheim, Norway saw a record-breaking 4,502 cheeses arrive from around the world by boat, truck, train, and plane. A judging team made up of 264 technical experts, graders, buyers, retailers, and food writers, tasted and reviewed all the cheeses in just one day. A super jury of 16 judges then came together to judge the World Champion Cheese.

How the judging works:

Working in teams of two or three, the judges identify any cheeses worthy of a gold, silver, or bronze award. They look at the rind and the body of the cheese, its colour, texture, consistency and, most importantly, its taste. Each team then nominates one exceptional cheese as the Super Gold from their table.

These exceptional cheeses are identified as the best in the world and go on to be judged a second time by a Super Jury made up of 16 internationally recognised experts, who each select one cheese to champion in the final round of judging. The Super Jury, coming together to represent all four corners of the globe, then debate the final cheeses in front of a live consumer and trade audience, before choosing the World Champion Cheese live on WCA TV, with cheese lovers and enthusiasts from around the globe tuning in to watch the event unfold. In addition to the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold prizes, there are country and cheese specific trophies.

For all producers wishing to enter, the awards will open for entry on Thursday 13 June 2024. Keep up to date on socials: @guildoffinefood #worldcheeseawards.

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