World’s best cheese named in ‘tense’ contest of over 4,400 entries

By Teodora Lyubomirova contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Gourmino and Vorderfultigen team and this year's champion, Le Gruyère AOP surchoix. Photo: Guild of Fine Food
The Gourmino and Vorderfultigen team and this year's champion, Le Gruyère AOP surchoix. Photo: Guild of Fine Food

Related tags: Cheese, Dairy

In the end, it was Switzerland versus Italy to battle it out for the coveted accolade, which is bestowed by the Guild of Fine Food.

Switzerland’s gruyere claimed the title of World Champion Cheese this year, beating Italy’s gorgonzola by a slim five-point difference.

This is the fourth time that the Swiss hard cheese has won the award. The winning entry was a surchoix version of La Gruyére AOP made by the Vorderfuldigen village cheesery and matured by cheesemakers Gourmino. Made from raw cow’s milk, the cheese was described as a “really perfect handcrafted cheese, smooth in your mouth and melting on your tongue” by the Super Jury member Christian Zuercher from Mifroma.

Dennis Kaser, international marketing manager of Le Gruyère AOP, commented: “This is a result that shows the quality behind all these people working together; 1,900 milk producers, 155 cheesemakers and 11 refiners. This collaborative work results in such a high quality cheese style, which is loved by the consumer. I’m so very proud to be representing Le Gruyère. Huge congratulations to cheesemaker Vorderfultigen and affineur Gourmino.”

Runner-up in the 2022/23 contest was Gorgonzola Dolce DOP from De’ Magi Formaggi, which was awarded 98 points by the judges – five short of the winner’s 103. The Italian cheesemakers hardly went empty-handed, however, their cheeses won Bronze (for Gorgonzola Piccante DOP), Gold (for coconut, chocolate and apple-flavored Cocco La Mela) and Super Gold (for the second-placed Gorgonzola Dolce DOP) gongs.

In a statement published on social media, Andrea Magi said ‘the emotion is strong because knowing that one of our cheese has obtained such recognition fills us with pride’.

Prolactine France, who had three cheeses in the top 16, came third with its Grosse Tomme de Bufflonne Cave Jacobine.

Only three US cheesemakers – Murray’s Cheese, The Farm at Doe Run, and Rogue Creamery - claimed Super Gold medals. The highest-ranking US cheese was Murray’s Cheese’s Greensward, a cave-aged, spoonable soft cheese.

The 16 grand finalists were:

  • Le Gruyère AOP surchoix, by cheesemaker Vorderfultigen and affineur Gourmino
  • Gorgonzola Dolce DOP from De’ Magi
  • Grosse Tomme de Bufflonne Cave Jacobine from Prolactine France
  • Âlde Fryske from De Fryske
  • Tomme de chèvre Cave Jacobine from Prolactine France
  • PATA DE MULO CURADO LOS PAYUELOS from Quesería Artesanal Los Payuelos
  • Greensward from Murray’s Cheese
  • Devon Blue from Ticklemore Cheese
  • Spenwood from Village Maid Cheese
  • Grosse Tomme de chèvre Cave Rousseau from Prolactine France
  • Sinodun Hill from Norton and Yarrow Cheese
  • Gorwydd Caerphilly from Trethowan’s Dairy
  • Großer Deichkäse 12 Monate from Rohmilchkäserei Backensholz GmbH & Co. KG
  • MA-TRU’ Pecorino Amatriciano from F.LLI PETRUCCI SRL
  • L’Ambra di Talamello from Rocca Toscana Formaggi S.R.L.
  • Gentenaer from Little Cheese Farm

Record-breaking

Held in Newport, Wales, the competition saw its highest number of entries – 4,434 from 900 producers from 42 nations. According to the organizers, the 4,400+ cheeses were sent to Wales by boat, truck, train and plane.

To whittle those down to 16 grand finalists, 265 jurors – including cheesemakers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs and retailers - evaluated around 50 cheeses each, classing them Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold.

The 16 grand finalists were re-judged by the ‘international super jury’, which featured Cathy Strange from Whole Foods Market (USA), Patricia Michelson from La Fromagerie (UK), Denis Priimagi from Cheese Kingdom (Ukraine) and Davide Fiori from Luigi Guffanti 1876 (Italy), who voted ranked the cheeses during a live stream on World Cheese TV.

The next edition of the competition will be held in Trondheim, Norway.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Cheese

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