Victory for Blue and Gouda

blue-cheeseA Kapiti-made blue cheese and a Mercer Gouda have been crowned the top New Zealand cheeses of 2011.

At the 2011 Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards in Auckland on Tuesday night, blue cheese Kapiti Kikorangi, produced by Fonterra Brands NZ, won the Yealands Estate Champion of Champions Award for large cheesemakers.

Mercer 50/50 Gouda, from Mercer Cheese, won the Cuisine Champion Artisan Award for smaller producers.

Both awards have equal status as the most prestigious awards for cheese excellence in New Zealand.

Australian judge Russell Smith said these awards reaffirmed how good New Zealand was at producing blue and Dutch-style cheeses.

“For me, the Dutch and blue cheeses produced in New Zealand are always the most outstanding and that makes them a real challenge to judge.”

In its eighth year, the 2011 Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards judged 450 entries in 20 different categories.

The winners were announced at an industry dinner in Auckland.