Dairy Dialog podcast 168: AVE UK, World Championship Cheese Contest

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Dairy Dialog podcast 168: AVE UK, World Championship Cheese Contest
Dairy Dialog podcast 168: AVE UK, World Championship Cheese Contest

Related tags Cheese Dairy

This week we have two interviews, with Kirsten Strohmenger, events manager at the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association; and with Steve Bradley, sales director at AVE UK and Stefano Berto, sales manager of Priamo Food Technologies.

We also have our weekly look at the global dairy markets with Charlie Hyland at StoneX.

More than 2,900 entries for 2022 World Championship Cheese Contest

Less than a month remains until dozens of judges from around the world gather in Madison, Wisconsin for the 2022 World Championship Cheese Contest.

From March 1-3, the group of 53 international experts will evaluate 2,919 dairy product entries, selecting the best in each class - and the 2022 World Champion.

This year’s judging team includes cheese graders, cheese buyers, dairy science professors, and researchers with more than 700 combined years of experience in the dairy processing industry. They hail from 16 countries and 13 US states.

List of judges:

Dr Gabriele Arlotti, CheeseItaly, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Dr Francisco de Asis Ruiz Morales, Centro IFAPA – Camino de Purchil, Andalucía, Spain
Ir. Maarten Bakker, Royal FrieslandCampina, the Netherlands
Kirk Baldwin, Valley Queen Cheese, South Dakota, USA
Marc Bates, Bates Consulting LLC, Oregon, USA
Larry Bell, LBell Consulting LLC, Wisconsin, USA
Kimberlee Burrington, ADPI, Wisconsin, USA
Dominique Delugeau, Saputo Cheese USA, Wisconsin, USA
Dr MaryAnne Drake, Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center at North Carolina State University, North Carolina, USA
Todd Druhot, Gourmet Foods International, Georgia, USA
Dr Nana Farkye, California Polytechnic State University, California, USA
Jessica Fernandez Lopez, Lactography, Mexico
Dr Mucio Furtado, IFF, São Paulo, Brazil
Chad Galer, Dairy Management Inc., Illinois, USA
Craig Gile, Cabot Creamery, Vermont, USA
Glenn Hatcher, Pacific Cheese, Oklahoma, USA
Enda Howley, Ornua, Ireland
Kory Hyvonen, Oshkosh Cold Storage, Wisconsin, USA
John Jaeggi, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin, USA
Gerrit Jansen, FrieslandCampina, Drenthe, the Netherlands
Luis Jiménez-Maroto, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin, USA
Andy Johnson, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin, USA
Dr Mark Johnson, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin, USA
Aileen Kacvinsky, Schuman Cheese Inc., Wisconsin, USA
Prof. Samir Kalit, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Dr Kerry Kaylegian, Penn State University, Pennsylvania, USA
Greg Kinate, Winona Foods, Wisconsin, USA
Drew Kordus, Great Lakes Cheese, Wisconsin, USA
Dr Susan Larson, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin, USA
Terry Lensmire, Lensmire Dairy Consulting, Wisconsin, USA
Dr Arnoldo Lopez-Hernandez, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mexico
Thierry Martin, Agropur, Quebec, Canada
Christophe Megevand, Schuman Cheese, New Jersey, USA
Virgil Metzger, Potrue Graphics, Illinois, USA
Lloyd Metzger, Valley Queen Cheese, South Dakota, USA
Per Olesen, St. Clemens Food Products, Denmark
Michael Pederson; Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Wisconsin; USA
Miguel Rolo, Busqui Cheese Molds, Portugal
Dr Giuseppe Rostiti, Biochem s.r.l., Lombardy, Italy
Roland Sahli, Gourmino AG, Bern, Switzerland
David Satterness, Chr. Hansen Inc. (Retired), South Dakota, USA
Christian Schmutz, FROMARTE, Fribourg, Switzerland
Franco Sessa, Whitestone Cheese, New Zealand
Russell Smith, Dairy Australia, New South Wales, Australia
Marianne Smukowski, Wisconsin, USA
Dean Sommer, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin, USA
Cathy Strange, Whole Foods Market, Texas, USA
Ernesto Toalombo, Proyectalimentos Cía. Ltda., Pichincha, Ecuador
Don Tribby, IFF, Missouri, USA
Stefan Truttman, FROMARTE, Uri, Switzerland
Eric Vorpahl, Masters Gallery Foods, Wisconsin, USA
David Wentz, Sargento Foods Inc., Wisconsin, USA

“The skill, expertise, and knowledge of our Contest judges are part of what make this competition so unique,”​ said Kirsten Strohmenger of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, host of the biennial event.

“Their precise, rigorous evaluation adds meaning and value to the golden Contest seal consumers see on the store shelf, helping to boost sales and drive interest in the winning companies.”

Under the leadership of chief judge Jim Mueller, chief judges emeritus Bill Schlinsog and Bob Aschebrock, and assistant chief judges Tim Czmowski, Stan Dietsche, Josef Hubatschek, Mariana Marques de Almeida, and Sandy Toney, the judges will calculate a precise score for each cheese, butter product, yogurt, and dry dairy ingredient entered in the contest.

Products are evaluated on a variety of attributes including flavor, body, texture, salt, color, finish, packaging, and others.

Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded to the three highest scoring entries in each of this year’s 141 distinct classes. The World Champion Cheese will be announced live online at WorldChampionCheese.org at 2 p.m. (CT) Thursday, March 3.

Italian company setting up mozzarella plant in the UK to speed up access to market

A complete mozzarella ball processing line supplied by AVE UK (part of the Della Toffola Group) is set to help Neapolitan cheesemakers Fratelli Amodio recreate the taste of Italy in Somerset, bypassing post-Brexit import taxes, red tape and transportation costs.

“Brexit custom requirements, compounded by Covid-19 protocols, are delaying the time it takes to get products across the border,”​ Cesco Amodio, owner and founder of the company with his brother, Henry, said.

“And whereas goods could previously move freely between the UK and Europe, there are now costly import taxes to pay.”

In addition, EU importers must apply to HMRC for an EORI number; find out the commodity code and value for the goods they want to import; and determine and pay the correct rate of duty and VAT.

In a bid to bypass these costs, delays and bureaucracy, Fratelli Amodio approached Italian equipment suppliers to help set up a manufacturing base in Somerset, including AVE UK’s parent company, the Della Toffola Group, an Italian-based international provider of processing and packaging machinery. The deciding factor for Amodio was the ability of Della Toffola’s UK-based subsidiary, AVE UK, to provide immediate, on-the-ground, local sales advice, equipment installation, technical support, after-care and servicing.

AVE UK solution consists of six individual systems including automatic coagulation vats, drainage trolleys, a whey recovery system, cradle coagulation vats, ricotta trolleys and salting cheese vats.

Amodio said, “Finding a UK supplier of precision cheese-making equipment was crucial in helping us recreate authentically Italian, sustainably-produced mozzarella right here in Somerset. AVE UK’s support is vital to the success of our new operation.”

Initially designed to produce 1,500kg of mozzarella per day, AVE UK’s modular solution will enable Fratelli Amodio’s business to grow with demand while retaining a compact footprint. It also gives the company the option to produce other specialist Italian cheeses, such as burrata, stracchino, montasio, asiago and caciocavallo, and even hard cheeses like Gouda and cheddar.

“AVE UK’s solution supports our production of authentic Italian cheese, while delivering the productivity and sustainability benefits expected with modern manufacturing,”​ Amodio said.

“Exclusively hand-making the mozzarella would bring the potential for human error, causing wastage which goes against our ethos of being a sustainable brand. Equally, switching to mass production would dilute the authenticity of our product. With this solution, we get the best of both worlds – consistent, reliable cheesemaking with a good yield of product per hour, combined with the hands-on artisanal approach that our customers expect.”

Steve Bradley AVE UK’s sales director, said, “Our solution will enable the customer to extract more final product from their raw material. This will reduce the volumes of by-product created and increase their yield. In addition, all our equipment has the option of automated cleaning-in-place technology, saving on water and energy consumption, as well as cleaning products. This has a positive environmental impact as it reduces the load on effluent treatment and cuts power consumption, while maintaining the highest standards of hygiene.”

AVE UK’s solution also enables Fratelli Amodio to create an additional product from the processing residues. The whey separated from the curd at the start of the process is often retained in Italy and used to make ricotta. The system includes a cradle vat dedicated to ricotta production. Containing an automated heat injection system featuring a steam jacket, it keeps the product at the desired temperature and ensures even heat distribution, avoiding the risk of hot spots.

Due to be installed in early 2022, the new line will maximize productivity rates, thanks to precision temperature and cutting control, automated production capabilities and consistency of quality. Also helping to minimize wastage during production, thereby further boosting profitability, it successfully combines the best of today’s processing expertise with heritage cheesemaking traditions.

“Innovation doesn’t have to mean creating a new technique,”​ Bradley said.

“For this project, it was essential that our solution respects and reproduces the traditional methods of mozzarella making to replicate the true flavors of Italy right here in the UK, while also incorporating the hygiene, efficiency, sustainability and reliability benefits requested by today’s market. It’s about cutting cost and waste, not taste and quality.”

Amodio said, “Our new UK base is located on the Chew Valley Dairy Farm in Somerset. Milk from the farm’s cows will be used to make the mozzarella, increasing the sustainability credentials that are integral to our brand. Rather than using plastic, our mozzarella will be packaged in glass jars; a unique offering that we are sure our climate-conscious UK customers will appreciate. To support our sustainability agenda, the equipment supplied by AVE UK will help to reduce wastage by eliminating human error, as well as being extremely energy efficient.”

Related topics Manufacturers Cheese