11 May 2023, 09:38 AM
  • The Virtual Cheese Awards returns for its fourth year next week – find out what’s in store for the live final
Virtual Cheese Awards announces stellar British cheese line up for live final

The UK’s only 100% online cheese awards, the Virtual Cheese Awards – which support and celebrate the best of British cheese and its producers – is announcing the line-up for its live final on Wednesday 17th May 2023.

The live final will be held from 10.30am to 5pm and will be hosted by broadcaster and local food and drink champion, Nigel Barden. It will be broadcast live on the Virtual Cheese Awards website, and on Facebook and YouTube live.

A day of judging and panels
Some of the UK’s leading cheese experts will judge over 30 British cheeses across seven categories – Cheddar, Blue, Enhanced, Territorial, Speciality, Artisan Hard and Artisan Soft – live on camera for all to see.

This will culminate in the Supreme Final where the winners of the seven categories will be inspected and tasted to declare the Best of British Supreme Champion Cheese.

There will also be interviews and panels with British cheesemakers, retailers, affineurs and cheese buyers. Roger Longman, owner of Somerset-based multi-award-winning White Lake Cheese will take part in the Big Cheese interview (11.30am) with Nigel Barden. They’ll discuss how Roger, a third generation farmer, continues to innovate by producing amazing artisan British cheese. 

There will be a panel discussing the retail opportunities for British cheese (1.05pm) with Sarah Miness, cheese buyer at Waitrose, Bronwen Percival, cheese buyer at Neals Yard Dairy and Marcus Fergusson and Penny Nagle from double Virtual Cheese Award Supreme Champions, Feltham’s Farm. 

Sarah de Wit, co-founder of Virtual Cheese Awards, commented, “Our expert cheese judges who work in some of the UK’s most prestigious dairies, cheesemongers and supermarkets spent 26 hours whittling 250 cheeses to just over 30 finalists. The final is the culmination of this where we’ll learn more about what makes a Great British cheese across seven categories.

“British cheese is going through a renaissance, and this is reflected in the entrants we have seen this year, with lots of new and innovative cheese coming from artisan producers. It’s a great day for anyone who loves British cheese and wants to learn more about it.”

A cheese-filled panel
The judging panel includes cheese buyers from supermarkets Waitrose and Morrisons and independent cheese retailers No2 Pound Street, Blas ar Fwyd and & Caws, along with affineurs from Rennet & Rind, Paxton & Whitfield, Neals Yard Dairy, Ornua and Harvey & Brockless. They will be joined by cheese aficionados Emma Young, aka The Cheese Explorer, and Charlie Turnbull from the Academy of Cheese.

With over 250 entries into this year’s awards, the Virtual Cheese Awards, now in its fourth year, is yet again proudly showcasing the very best British cheesemakers.

Nigel Barden, host of the Virtual Cheese Awards, added, “Cheese is something in this country that we do well, really well in fact. It is an industry full of innovators and inspiring people who are truly passionate about making great cheese and they deserve all the praise we can give them!” 

Everyone is invited to join in on the cheese fun by tuning into the free live stream on the day of the event which will be available from the Virtual Cheese Award’s website, Youtube and Facebook from 10:30am to 5pm.