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More than 2,700 cheeses were tasted by the judging panel, which was made up of 16 experts representing 13 nations including the US, France, Mexico and Australia.
The family-made cheese was produced by the family dairy, Kaserei Champignon, based in Germany – making this the first time that a German cheese has won this award. The winning cheese, Montagnolo Affiné, also won second place thanks to being entered into two categories (blue, and cheeses which have already won international awards) by UK representative, Elite Imports Ltd. The cheese is already award winning, having been named Supreme Champion at the Nantwich International Cheese Show in 2012.
Catherine Duffy, marketing manager at Elite Imports said of the win, “We’re absolutely delighted, although we were a little puzzled at first by how we could have won both first and second place. It’s hard to say what made the cheese a champion; I think it’s the creaminess. It’s a very decadent cheese, creamy with a little bit of kick. It just creeps up on you. It’s just a quality cheese – it’s a testament to this that the judges were unable to differentiate between the two cheeses from two totally different batches. The consistency of the manufacturing process means we get perfect cheese every time. Another one of our cheeses, the Grand Noire, won a Super Gold and it is yet to be launched into the UK. The plan is for it to be released in Britain in Spring or Summer 2014 – with the Super Gold acclaim attached it should go down very well.”
Third place was awarded to a Le Gruyère AOP Premier Cru from Cremo Von Muhlenen. This cheese was just one point behind Montagnolo Affiné in the final voting. Le Gruyère AOP is the only cheese to have come top in the World Cheese Awards on three occasions.
Robert Hofmeister, CEO at Kaserei Champignon said, “We have learnt this morning that our Montagnolo Affiné has won the first prize at the WORLD CHEESE AWARDS 2013 in the UK – this is the first German cheese to have won this prize. To have been honoured as the best cheese in the world by such a prestigious and independent expert jury pleases us and makes us very proud. This award shows that our cheese makers at Kaserei Champignon, having more than 100 years’ experience and tradition, not only craft our products with knowledge, but also with commitment and ambition. The whole team at Kaserei Champignon says thank you for this very special honour.”
John Farrand, MD of the Guild of Fine Food which organised the competition said, “After 25 years of the World Cheese Awards this is the first time that a cheese made in Germany has won the top honour. Our judges were united in their praise for the Montagnolo Affiné with one judge describing the cheese as ‘visually beautiful with a soft blue grey bloom and melt in the mouth, velvety flavour’. This is a very worthy winner from an accomplished cheesemaker. To take first and second place shows that our judges’ palates tune in to faultless cheeses; in this case they picked two made by the same cheesemaker.”
The event saw controversy after permission to include cheeses from countries including Japan, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa was refused on public health grounds.
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