Le Gruyère AOP named best cheese in the world
Le Gruyère AOP has once again been named best cheese on the planet – the fourth time the Swiss classic has triumphed at the World Cheese Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food.
A “surchoix” version of the cheese made by Vorderfuldigen and matured by Gourmino, was crowned the winner in a tense finale to the 2022-2023 event, which was held at the ICC Wales in Newport.
Billed by the judges as a “really perfect handcrafted cheese”, the winner was run closely in the final round of tasting by Gorgonzola Dolce DOP by De’ Magi Formaggi, which was the eventual runner-up.
The day-long judging process began with a record 4,434 cheeses from 42 countries, whittled down by 250 expert judges representing 38 nations. The main judging session took place in the morning at the ICC in Newport, which cheeses awarded bronze, silver or gold (or none).
Each of the 98 judging teams selected one cheese for a Super Gold award, which saw them progress to a further round of judging by a select group of experts.
The 16-strong Super Jury from 15 countries – including wholesaler, retailer Peter Martensson from Sweden, Welsh food technologist Eurwen Richards and seasoned judge, Whole Foods’ Cathy Strange – then picked a Super Gold to champion in a final round of tasting and scoring in front of a live audience, also broadcast online via a dedicated channel (WCA TV).
Swiss judge Christian Zuercher championed the cheese for being “smooth in your mouth and melting on your tongue. You have a lot of flavour in it, from herbs to fruity, roasted, with a real leather note.”
“It’s well balanced and long lasting, it’s really something I enjoy.”
A quarter of the top 16 cheeses were British – with Devon Blue, made by Ticklemore Cheese Dairy, Spenwood (Village Maid), Gorwydd Caerphilly (Trethowan’s) and Norton & Yarrow’s Sinodun Hill all staking their claim for the World Cheese Champion title.
As always, the awards were a truly international affair, with a host of nations represented, including India, the Canary Islands, the USA, Australia and Japan.
There were also a number of submissions from Ukraine, which was originally meant to host the awards this year.
The Guild of Fine Food waived all entry fees for cheesemakers from the country, and gave them the opportunity to showcase their cheeses throughout the day.
Representing the nation as a judge, the owner of Ukrainian retail chain Cheese Kingdom Denis Priimagi expressed gratitude for the opportunity and said it was an “honour and pleasure” to attend the event, thanking the team and fellow producers for their support.
Aside from the WCA, the venue also played host to more than 30 producers at the World Cheese Market and the Young Cheesemonger of the Year Awards organised by The Academy of Cheese, to be announced at a celebratory dinner after the event.
Stay tuned for the full list of award winners, which will be published Thursday 3rd November 2022.