New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra has won a prestigious award in the UK for its vintage cheddar cheese. The award-winning cheese, manufactured at Fonterra Waitoa, was entered in the past masters class of the Nantwich International Cheese Show, which is open to all previous winners of the Supreme Champion award. Fonterra won this award in the early 1990s.
Peter Sinclair, who heads the cheese maturation programme at Fonterra Waitoa, was also honoured as the first New Zealander to judge at the show, but did not adjudicate in the class where Fonterra attracted its award.
"Over the Show's 100 plus-year history there has never been a New Zealand judge," said Sinclair. But, this year I broke the trend and judged in the European section of mature cheddars, tasting over 50 cheeses. I was one of only a handful of non-European judges.
"The Nantwich show is regarded as the most prestigious international cheese show in Europe, and this year there were 1620 cheeses there from numerous countries throughout the world. For Fonterra Waitoa to win an award was a real testament to the quality of our cheese. It shows our product stacks up against the best vintage cheddar in the world."
Fonterra's Waitoa plant has manufactured cheddar cheese since 1981. The factory has a capacity to produce 45,000 tonnes of cheese per season. Three categories of cheddar are manufactured, including mature, extra-mature and vintage for the European market.