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Great British Cheese Awards: the results

Great British Cheese Awards: the results

by Great British Chefs 26 October 2016

After months of voting, hours of deliberating and hundreds of mouthfuls of cheese, the winners of the first ever Great British Cheese Awards have been announced. See who won and what the awards meant to them.


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After a fantastic ceremony at The Gilbert Scott in London, we can now share the results of the inaugural Great British Cheese Awards. These awards, put on in partnership with Peter’s Yard, were thought up to recognise, promote and reward excellence in the UK’s artisan cheese industry – something which has grown and grown over the past few years into a thriving and exciting movement. Our specialist panel of judges were amazed at the quality of produce on offer, while you voted in your thousands to help us pick a People’s Choice champion. Here are the results.

The winners

People’s Choice – Cornish Blue

Cornish Blue

This was the big one – the award that was voted for entirely by the public, proving that Cornish Blue has an army of fans from all over the UK. ‘It’s brilliant to win because the competition was like no other competition we’ve entered before,’ says Philip Stansfield, the founder of the Cornish Cheese Company. ‘The format of it was superb and the fact that the public could get involved and learn all about cheese on the way was great. Events like this raise the profile of every cheesemaker involved. Winning awards is a big thing in our industry as it gives us lots of publicity and allows us to spread the word and get it in front of new customers.’

Runner-up: Sharpham Brie

Best Artisan Producer – Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese

Mrs Kirkham's

Being recognised as a producer, rather than for a specific cheese, is testament to a person’s skill, story and determination in the world of cheese. ‘I feel like these awards are really honest,’ says Graham Kirkham, who continues to make Lancashire cheese to his mother’s recipe (the real life Mrs Kirkham). ‘There was a good gathering of fantastic cheesemakers and the judges were really good. The public voted as well and it was really nice to get them involved. The whole thing just has a really good feel to it and I’m so chuffed and happy to be a part of it.

‘It’s nice to get recognition. When you win an award you realise it’s all worth it, because it is hard work and you can get bogged down just staring at the four walls of your dairy all day. To win just feels really fantastic.’

Runner-up: Ludlow Food Centre

Best Retailer – Country Cheeses

Country Cheese

Cheesemakers know how important winning awards are, but all too often the shops selling their cheeses are overlooked. That’s why we had a special category for Best Cheese Retailer which went to Country Cheeses, a company that started with six cheeses and a market stall in Devon. ‘We’ve never won any awards before – we’re a tiny shop that sells mostly West Country cheeses and work with the dairies directly to source our products,’ says Marie Talbot, a manager of one of Country Cheeses’ three shops in Devon. ‘We just can’t believe we won when we were up against companies like The Cheese Shed. It’s phenomenal! Our customers are amazing and are the ones who got us here today. These awards are great because it recognises the retailers as well as the producers. We’re always promoting artisan cheese wherever we can and it’s so nice to meet the individual people behind them.’

Runner-up: The Cheese Shed

Best New Producer – Kingstone Dairy

Cheeses
 

Rollright is one of those cheeses that became an instant classic the first time it hit the shop shelves, which is why David Jowett and his company Kingstone Dairy was named Best New Producer. Based in Oxfordshire, David’s only been selling Rollright since March 2015, which is amazing seeing as it now has pride of place in reputable cheese shops up and down the country.

Runner-up: Yorkshire Pecorino

Best Blue – Barkham Blue

image

Made by Two Hoots Cheese on the Hampshire/Berkshire border, Barkham Blue won the blue category due to its rich, buttery flavour and mild taste, complemented by its unique rounded shape and beautiful blue-green veins.

Runner-up: Stichelton

Best Fresh – Moody’s Rosary Ash

Cheese
 

This fresh goat’s cheese wowed the judges thanks to its soft, mousse-like texture and light, tangy flavour. It’s been made in Salisbury for many years, but has achieved national recognition in the past few thanks to a slew of awards.

Runner-up: Perroche

Best Hard – Cornish Gouda

Cornish Gouda

Cornish Gouda doesn’t just taste fantastic – it has a heartfelt story behind it too. ‘It feels great to be rewarded for all the hard work,’ says Giel Spierlings, who set up Cornish Gouda four and a half years ago. ‘I came home from college to see a for sale sign on the farm gate and decided I was going to start making cheese to try and keep the farm going. My mum and dad bought the farm with a big mortgage and the industry just collapsed so there was no money and they were going to sell up, but I decided that I wanted to carry on farming. I started buying milk off them at a fair price and turning it into cheese, read lots of books and carried on learning until I made this award-winning one.’

Runner-up: Lincolnshire Poacher

Best Semi-soft – Yorkshire Pecorino

image

This fantastic ewe’s milk cheese is better than anything the Italians can make, and founder Mario Olianas is one of the most passionate cheesemakers in the UK. ‘I’ve been making cheese for four years now, and I’m really chuffed to bits for Yorkshire Pecorino to be crowned the best semi-soft cheese in Britain. It all started when I went to visit my brother in Sardinia, and found out he was making cheese, and it actually tasted good! So when I came back to Yorkshire I told my wife we needed to make some that’s better. It took us six months to find the right milk, but from then on we’ve been winning awards every year. My brother quickly surrendered and after today, I don’t think he can say anything about cheese!’

Runner-up: Wyfe of Bath

Best Soft – Rollright

Rollright

The best new producer also took home the trophy for soft cheese. Rollright’s blushed pinky-orange rind means top marks for appearance but it’s the buttery centre and gentle taste that really won the judges over. It’s comparable to a Reblochon, but offers so much more.

Runner-up: Sharpham Brie

 
 
 
 

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