Norwegian gouda is 2018 World Cheese Awards champion
A Gouda-style cheese made on a small farm in Norway was crowned the best cheese in the world on home soil as the 2018 World Cheese Awards concluded in Bergen with an emotional finale.
Fanaost made by Ostegården was the clear winner with a score of 71 out of a possible 80 in the final round of tasting at the city’s Grieghallen, which played host to this year’s awards.
Within minutes of being announced as the winner, cheesemaker Jørn Hafslund was on stage with the trophy – and he was soon joined by Gunnar Waagen, maker of the 2016 World Champion Kraftkar – as the audience celebrated euphorically.
“This is a Dutch recipe so we have mixed it a little bit and we have nice milk,” said a stunned Hafslund. “All the cheesemakers in Norway we’re working together and this is for Norway.”
A Norwegian cheese – a traditional Brun Geitost (brown cheese) made by Stordalen Gardsbruk – took joint second place with an AOP Ossau Iraty from Fromagerie Agour.
The result was a fitting climax to a day’s judging that began with 3,472 cheeses, assembled from 30 countries, for a team of 235 judges to assess.
The judges, from some 41 different nations, were tasked with tasting and scoring each cheese to decide whether it would receive either a Gold, Silver, Bronze, or no award.
One Gold cheese from each of the 78 judging tables was nominated as a Super Gold before being sampled again by the Super Jury of 16 experts – including Neal’s Yard Dairy’s Jason Hinds, chef Jose Pizarro and Cathy Strange of US retailer Whole Foods Market.
From the 78, just 16 cheeses progressed to a final round of judging held live in front of a live audience and broadcast globally on WCA TV.
World Cheese 2018 was staged in Bergen as part of a brand-new festival, Matnasjonen Norge, in partnership with HANEN, an organisation promoting the best that the Norwegian countryside has to offer, and the Norwegian Artisan Cheesemaker Association.
The full results of the day will be posted soon at gff.co.uk/wca – where you can also view more footage from the day’s judging.