The International Cheese & Dairy Awards are an annual event held in Nantwich Cheshire. The 122-year-old event is the biggest cheese show in the world. Last month we were invited to their cheese and wine press event which was held at Lumiere London. We were overwhelmed by how much cheese there was – literally cheese heaven! On arrival we were greeted with a warm smile and a glass of prosecco.The Show Chairman – Chris Chisnall, did an opening speech – introducing us to their cheese sponsors that evening. This year the show will be Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st July where there will be over 5000 cheeses to taste and judge! The Cheese Awards is like the Oscars and this year there will be entries from Japan, Australia and New Zealand!
Last year Belton Farm won the Supreme Champion of 2018 for their Traditional Farmhouse Coloured Cheshire. They were back showcasing their Cheshire cheeses and a shiny trophy. Arla Foods won the Reserve Supreme Champion and Morrisons won the Supreme Retailer.Charlie Turnbull, from the Academy of Cheese took to the stand. He told us a little bit about the history of Cheshire Cheese and how he wanted to keep the traditional British cheese making alive. The Cheese Academy is a place where you can grow and develop your knowledge about cheese, and share your knowledge with others – building full knowledge of a cheese cycle from cheesemaking to selling to consumers – in retail and food service environments. The next speaker was Richard Paul Sourcing Director from Bradbury’s Cheese, he talked us through his favourite cheeses and paired it with the best drinks, which we found fascinating. Kicking off the cheese and wine tasting he paired prosecco with Parmesan, the best Parmesan will be 24 months old, anything older loses its flavour. The flavour should be creamy, fattier, sweeter and darker in colour. It is also great with Parma ham!
Richard also spoke about Gorgonzola Dolce (soft Italian cheese) if you drizzle Processo in it the flavour comes to live, this also goes hand in hand with crusty bread – delicious. Stilton cheese was his next recommendation if you put a small slice on your tongue and pour tawny port over it the flavour is rich and flavoursome. Sloe Gin is another good accompaniment to this cheese. Goats cheese marries well with French wine, and Epoisses cheese. The Epoisses was the winner of the evening for me – creamy, rich and melted in my mouth. I couldn’t stop going back to it. Richard kindly gave us both each a whole Epoisses to take home.We spoke to various cheese producers that evening one of which was Eatlean – low fat 90% less fat than cheddar cheese, healthier protein 45% more! Their cream cheese was delicious, you can not taste the difference between regular cheese and their cheese! It is available in Tesco, Morrissons and Waitrose. We spoke to David Edwards who was representing the Welsh cheeses. He spoke fondly about Dr Carrie Rimes who realised her dream was to produce cheese and now owns a business called ‘Cosyn Cymru’. She flew out to France to work at a few fromageries, to develop her skills and knowledge in cheese making. One of her products like Chaource (soft cheese) called Brefu Bach was named Britain’s best newcomer at the British Cheese Awards in 2017. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, we ate and drank to our hearts content and made a few new friends. We are so grateful to be invited, we wish you all good luck for the International Cheese Awards! May the best Cheese win! Tuesday 30th is Trade Day (everyone connected to the dairy industry) and Wednesday 31st will be open to the public with announcement of Supreme Champion of 2019.
*Disclosure: This was an invite to the International Cheese and Dairy Awards Press Event, all photos were taken by ewe agency.