To counter this, the UK’s first Virtual Cheese Awards has been launched.
The awards will focus on British cheese and include 31 classes, which will be judged online with the judging and the supreme champion announced in a series of live online events on July 18.
All profits from the awards will be donated to the Specialist Cheesemakers Association and RABI (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution) for their continued support of British farmers and dairy producers.
Sarah de Wit, co-founder of the Virtual Cheese Awards and cheese and dairy consultant, said, “Covid-19 has put paid to all the big cheese shows and along with ongoing challenges cheese producers are facing to sell their produce, there is a real crisis for our much-loved industry. I really wanted to do something positive to help support cheesemakers across Britain and celebrate their fantastic cheeses.
“We want the awards to be a real celebration of cheese and show some behind the scenes of how cheese is judged and tasted, with some of UK’s most esteemed cheese judges.”
Catherine Mead, chair of the Specialist Cheese Makers Association, said, “The Virtual Cheese Awards are an extraordinary response to extraordinary times. In a normal year judges get together at a number of different shows to taste out literally thousands of amazing cheeses from across the globe to find the outstanding, the perfect, the best of the new and the familiar.
”The SCA is extremely grateful to the VCA for their generous offer to donate some of the proceeds from the entries to the SCA which will help support training, development and continuous improvement in British Specialty Cheese.”
Categories include Creamy Vintage Cheddar, Best Cheshire, Best Lancashire, Best Wensleydale, Best Stilton, Best Organic Hard cheese and a range of artisan classes.
Nigel Pooley, co-founder of the Virtual Cheese Awards and cheese grading & product quality development manager at Wyke Farms said, “I am passionate about our Great British cheese industry and we hope that these Virtual Cheese Awards will go some way in buoying up a somewhat struggling industry. We have been incredibly proud of the support which has already been shown by cheese producers who have pledged their support, whether to enter their cheeses or to sponsor it so we can make it a success.”
Deadline for cheese entries is June 19, 2020. Producers can enter online and details will be sent where to send samples.