Pitchfork Cheddar from Trethowan’s Dairy in Somerset has been named Best British Cheese, sponsored by Savencia, at the 32nd edition of the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy following a record-breaking 3,804 entries from 42 different countries being judged in a single day at Fiera di Bergamo.
Only in production since 2017, Pitchfork Cheddar is an organic, unpasteurised, traditional clothbound cheddar made just seven miles from Cheddar Gorge. Coming fourth overall in this year’s World Cheese Awards, Pitchfork Cheddar was joined in the Top 16 by the Trethowan brothers’ Gorwydd Caerphilly, with the dairy also picking up trophies for Best Mature Traditional Cheddar, sponsored by Deliziosa, and Best Extra Mature Cheddar, sponsored by Rowcliffe.
Other honours around the UK went to Corra Linn from Errington Cheese, which picked up the Best Scottish Cheese trophy, sponsored by Cheese+, and Tysul Blue from Jones’ Cheese Co, which was named Best Welsh Cheese. In total, British cheesemakers won 11 Super Gold, 20 Gold, 33 Silver and 45 Bronze awards.
Taking place in Italy for the first time in its 32 year history, the largest cheese-only competition on the planet was hosted by Bergamo’s annual FORME cheese festival and a new dairy trade show, B2Cheese. Following nine hours of judging on Friday 18 October, the International Super Jury awarded the top prize to Rogue River Blue from Rogue Creamery, giving the USA its first ever World Champion Cheese.
More nations than ever before were represented at this year’s World Cheese Awards, as cheesemakers from 42 countries in six continents sent their entries by boat, truck, train and plane. Cheese from the likes of Australia, Chile, Russia, South Africa and the USA made its way via 13 consolidation points across the globe, while Japanese cheesemakers also made their debut at the competition, following Japan being added to the list of countries permitted to export dairy products to the EU earlier this year.
All entries were judged in a single day, as 260 experts from 35 different countries assessed their appearance, texture, aroma and flavour, giving Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards to worthy winners. As 3,804 eventually became 16, the crowds then watched on as the finest palates in the global cheese community debated the best of the best. Featuring cheesemakers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs, retailers and writers, the International Super Jury included Mexico’s Carlos Yescas, France’s Roland Barthélemy, Italy’s Alberto Marcomini and Cathy Strange from the USA, who all put forward their chosen cheeses live on World Cheese TV, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.
In a drive to reduce waste and reach out into the wider community, the World Cheese Awards and FORME partnered with Banco Alimentare, an Italian organisation that collected and redistributed over 90,000 tons of food to those in need during 2018 alone. Banco Alimentare was invited to collect cheese that had been suitably preserved during the competition, which will now be passed onto 125 charitable institutions within Bergamo. The proceeds from FORME’s charity gala night, Buono come il formaggio (As good as cheese), held on Saturday 19 October, will also be donated to fund additional cheese purchases.
World Cheese Awards 2019 – the background
- The World Cheese Awards is organised by the Guild of Fine Food
- The main sponsors of the World Cheese Awards 2019 are Barber’s 1833, Grana Padano, Le Gruyère AOP, Brazzale, Deliziosa, Meny, Savencia and the USA Cheese Guild
- This year’s World Cheese Awards was brought to Italy for the first time in partnership with B2Cheese, Camera di Commercio Bergamo, Comune di Bergamo, FORME, Promozione del Territorio, Provincia di Bergamo and Regione Lombardia
- 2019 was the 32nd edition of the competition Top of Form
- The biggest ‘cheese-only’ competition in the world – no yoghurt, cream, butter or other dairy – championing the world’s best cheesemakers, from tiny artisans to global heavyweights
- A record-breaking 3,804 cheeses were entered (10% increase on previous record set in 2018)
- Entries represented a record-breaking 42 different nations from six continents – including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the USA and Wales
- 260 judges from 35 different countries travelled to Bergamo to nose, taste and grade the cheese
- Judging broadcast live on WCA TV at www.gff.co.uk/wca
- A Super Jury of 16 judges decided the final winning World Champion Cheese