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Le Gruyère AOP Premier Cru crowned World Champion Cheese 2015

Amy Brice

World Champion Cheese 2015

Le Gruyère AOP has scooped the top prize at the World Cheese Awards for a record fourth time, coming top among the 2,727 cheeses judged at the NEC in Birmingham on Thursday 26 November. The winning Gruyère, from Cremo SA von Mühlenen, triumphed at the world’s largest cheese-only awards scheme, with Mexican judge Carlos Yescas, from the Oldways Cheese Coalition, saying “you’re transported – this is a wonderful representation of this type of cheese and you can really taste the terroir”, while Italian judge Davide Fiori, from Luigi Guffanti 1876, said “I love this cheese because it’s not just for eating – it’s for talking about with friends. The taste tells you so much about the pastures it comes from.” The final Super Jury, representing nations including Japan, South Africa, Australia, Canada, USA and the Basque Country, concurred, awarding Le Gruyère AOP Premier Cru the highest score of the final judging stage.

On hearing the news, René Ruch of Cremo SA said;

“To win again and again is fantastic, and to win against all these incredible cheeses from around the world is a real honour. The World Cheese Awards is the greatest of all cheese competitions and it is very special to be recognised by a jury of top international experts. This award represents the hard work and dedication of our farmers, cheesemakers and affineurs, so I’m very proud to be going back to Switzerland to congratulate them.”

Le Gruyère AOP Premier Cru was awarded 69 points out of a possible 80 by the Super Jury of 16 judges, narrowly beating a French Tomme Brebis-Chèvre from Onetik and a Burrata from the UK’s La Credenza Ltd, which came joint second on 68 points. John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the World Cheese Awards commented;

“The final round of judging is such a close run thing, so it never fails to provide a really exciting spectacle. With our Super Jury choosing between the top 16 cheeses in the world, it’s always too close to call until the final numbers come in, but Le Gruyère AOP got a resounding thumbs up from our judges and is testament to the tried and tested traditional techniques of these cheesemakers from Switzerland.”

Over 250 cheese experts from 22 different nations travelled to the NEC to judge all the cheeses in the space of a single day, tasting over 2,700 entries within the 1,100 square metre judging arena. The final judging panel of top-name global experts, made up of cheese buyers, retailers and writers – including Japan’s Terumi Suimon, Australia’s Kris Lloyd and France’s Marwen Amor – then tasted a shortlist of 16 cheeses to select the 2015 World Champion Cheese. Guild of Fine Food chairman and World Cheese Awards Founder, Bob Farrand, championed the cheese during the final round of judging, applauding its “depth, creaminess, fruitiness and nuttiness,” adding “this is a cheese that has been affineured extraordinarily well and the flavour just kept going and going.”

The 28th World Cheese Awards, organised by The Guild of Fine Food, took place during the BBC Good Food Show Winter at Birmingham’s NEC, drawing entries from over 25 countries including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Estonia and South Africa. Cheeses of all shapes, sizes and colours, including many innovative additive cheeses, made their way by truck, plane, boat and car via 10 consolidation points in all corners of the globe.

Next year’s World Cheese Awards will be held in San Sebastián in association with Artzai Gazta, forming part of the International Cheese Festival between 16-19 November 2016, during the city’s tenure as European Capital of Culture. Victoria Urresti, Technical Expert of the Tasting Committee for the PDO Idiazabel Cheese and member of Artzai Gazta’s Technical Committee, who was also on this year’s Super Jury, said;

“This really is the World Cup of cheese and provides a wonderful opportunity to share knowledge and ideas. We’re so excited about bringing the World Cheese Awards to San Sebastián next year and can’t wait to showcase the artisan cheeses of the Basque Country.”

The BBC Good Food Show Winter was held at the NEC, Birmingham between 26-29 November 2015. For more information visit www.bbcgoodfoodshowwinter.com

More information on the World Cheese Awards can be found at www.gff.co.uk/awards/world-cheese-awards.