IT’S speed-dating with cheese. This year’s World Cheese Awards will see up to 3,500 entries judged in a single day in Bergamo, Italy on October 18.
Event organiser, the Guild of Fine Food, say the one-day competition will be part of the city’s annual Forme cheese festival.
Last year’s guild event in Norway saw a record-breaking 3,472 cheeses from 41 countries judged by teams of three judges racing to select the winners.
Ireland’s 233-store SuperValu chain picked up nine medals, including a super gold for its Signature Tastes sheep cheese with rosemary, as well as four silvers and four bronzes.
Seven cheese from the UK mainland also picked up super gold medals.
Two years ago, the supreme champion at the event was Cornish Kern, a nutty Alpine-style cheese from Cornwall.
The Forme festival, attended by 40,000 visitors who tasted or bought 12,000 kg of cheese, runs at a slower pace than the frenetic World Cheese Awards, with tastings, panel discussions, training sessions, markets and an exhibition of all 50 Italian cheeses.
Guild managing director John Farrand says the World Cheese Awards event is extending its international reach year-on-year.
“With more than 200 of the world’s top cheese people set to fly in for the awards, Bergamo will become the very heart of the cheese world this October,” he tells reporters.
“We’re anticipating yet another record breaking year, hoping to top 3,500 entries for the first time.”
Last year’s awards in Bergen, Norway, were judged in one day by speedy teams of technical experts, buyers, retailers and food writers.
They looked at the rind and body of the cheese, its colour, texture, consistency and taste.
Each team nominated one cheese as the Super Gold from its table. These cheeses then faced a super jury of 16 experts, who each selected one cheese to champion in the final round.
The super jury debated the final 16, from Italy, France, Denmark, Israel and South Africa, in front of a live consumer and trade audience and on live TV before announcing the winners.