Medals for local cheesemaker at NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2023

Mar 28, 2023

The country’s top cheeses have been recognised with 162 receiving medals following the 20th year of judging for the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.

Medals are almost equally split with; 57 Gold, 55 Silver and 48 Bronze being awarded following two days of intensive judging at Wintec Te Pūkenga, Rotokauri Campus in early March.

Among the winners was local cheesemaker Gibbson Valley Cheese. Two medals were awarded to Gibbson Valley Cheese in the Interchem Agencies Aged Flavour Added Cheese category:

  • Silver Medal - Gibbston Valley Cheese, Peppered Gouda
  • Bronze Medal - Gibbston Valley Cheese, Chilli Havarti

Master Judge, Jason Tarrant, presided over the panel of 30 judges who came from throughout New Zealand and Australia. Judges are a mix of cheesemakers, cheese retailers, food technologists and food writers who sniffed, tasted a range of New Zealand-made cheese across 20 categories including; ewe milk, washed rind, blue cheese, Dutch style, fresh Italian style, Greek-Cypriot style and cheddar. Judges were supported by a further 20 stewards.

Jason Tarrant congratulated all the NZ Champions of Cheese medal winners saying this year’s competition was hotly contested and every medal awarded was hard won after being assessed by the judges who worked in panels of three.

Jason Tarrant noted, “judges were particularly impressed with the Filtercorp New Cheese category. It’s exciting for our industry to see so many new cheeses and it bodes well for the future that there is so much innovation and new product development. Fonterra Brands New Zealand, Kāpiti deserves a special shout for receiving four medals in this category – two Gold Medals, one Silver and one Bronze medal.”

New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association runs the annual competition with association Chair Simon Lamb thanking the stewards and judges who volunteer their time. 

“Hundreds of volunteer hours judging and industry sponsors of the NZ Champion of Cheese Awards make this annual celebration of locally produced cheese possible. We recognise how important these partners are to help the Association assess the country’s top cheeses, recognise technical excellence in locally produced cheese and ultimately drive consumption of NZ cheese.”

Medal winners for NZ Champions of Cheese 2023 are available on the CheeseloversNZ website. Champions announced at the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Gala Dinner – celebrating 20 years – at the Atrium in Hamilton on Thursday 4 May 2023.

Main image - Gibbston Valley Cheese

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