World Cheese Awards: Asia dominates

Written by Staff Writer at CNN

Asia is the main beneficiary of the World Cheese Awards , with 131 entries from the region being recognized on the 2017-2022 series of awards.

The competition is now in its tenth year and in an increase from the 2017-2018 editions of entries, 51 entries from Europe have been chosen for the contest.

That’s in contrast to the 15 European entries chosen in 2007-09, while the 2017-2018 editions saw Asia’s share of continental nominations, which range from Ansen Farms aged rice cheese from South Korea, to cheese made by Cheffarnas and madeleines from Turkey.

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From Rio de Janeiro to Delhi, about half the entries for the 22 World Cheese Awards were sent to Asia. The Asian entries are judged by cheesemakers themselves, according to the competition’s organizers.

It’s a new phenomenon in the history of the competition, which stands for Cheese Breed Champions, and suggests that one of the challenges of being the largest international cheese fair in the world is to make the event accessible to producers across the globe.

“It’s the largest international cheese fair in the world and in doing that we have tried to make it as wide-ranging and international as possible,” said Fatos Halis, managing director of the World Cheese Awards.

“It’s a good thing that so many countries are part of the competition. It makes us to be able to provide to the globe the best tasting international cheese.”

However, this may not be the last time for the cheese-related award that goes by the same name as the competition. Halis said that it is an option to introduce it for both the World Cheese Awards and the World Brands Awards.

The winners were announced in late January during a ceremony at the 24th annual World Cheese Awards in Groningen.

Winners across the globe

Asia has dominated the recent World Cheese Awards, with Greece and Ireland coming in second and third with 76 and 79 nominations, respectively.

There are over 400 entrants in total across the 22 categories.

Winners have been unveiled this month for the World Cheese Awards for 20 countries. See more here

The UK topped the list, and Switzerland claimed the top spot for continental Europe.

In a list dominated by wine and ale-producing countries, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain secured two each in the beer and ale categories.

Some of the winners among the beer category include Lao Hietxen Curried Spiced Porter, by Barcelona-based Bari and Lao Hietxen Golden Rye IPA from Singapore-based Watt Brewery

The cheese category covers whole, soft, mature, semi-firm and matured cheeses from all over the world. Winners were announced in late January during a ceremony at the 24th annual World Cheese Awards in Groningen. See more here

Food writer Helena Olsen said she loves to “feast on cheese in Canada” and said “I don’t see a country coming up in front of countries such as Italy, England and France … It shows us as people wanting to make the best cheese available.”

It’s not just about making a cheese, she said, but about cheese as an economic, ethical and political issue.

“Cheese is a great way to engage people in social issues.”

Not as small a market as you may think

Figured cheese seller Matt Freeman explained why his establishment receives busloads of visitors from Britain, France and especially the Netherlands.

He cited the myriad ingredients used in making these cheeses, such as quality and fresh dairy, to call attention to the way they make a cheese.

“A country like Holland, where a lot of the food is served fresh and comes from high quality cheesemakers, the cheese is an important part of their food offer,” he said.

“When people see a great cheese on a cart, they get excited and come and buy a single or more than one, meaning not only does the cheese make money, but the entire ‘cheesey’ experience is also profitable.”

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