World Cheese Awards returns to Spain, as part of Oviedo’s International Cheese Festival
The Guild of Fine Food has announced that the World Cheese Awards will be held in the Spanish Principality of Asturias this year, taking place in Oviedo on Wednesday 3 November. Having extended Oviedo’s tenure as World Cheese Capital following the event’s postponement as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the 33rd edition of the competition will now form part of the Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival 2021, run by the Instituto del Queso, in partnership with the Principality of Asturias and the City Council of Oviedo.
An opportunity for the global cheese community to come together after a year of unprecedented challenges for cheesemakers and the industry as a whole, the World Cheese Awards will be at the heart of a four day festival dedicated only to cheese, staged at Oviedo’s awe-inspiring Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos. As the cheese world congregates in the city between 3-6 November 2021, the competition is set to be bigger and more international than ever before, following the record-breaking 3,804 entries from 42 different countries judged in Bergamo, Italy in 2019.
Welcoming judges, entries and followers from every corner of the world, Oviedo will provide the setting for the industry to reunite, expand networks and look to the future. Building upon the Asturias region’s rich cheesemaking heritage, the International Cheese Festival will present a packed programme of events for both trade and consumer visitors, including an exhibition, the 2nd Scientific Forum for Dairy Innovation, tours of the World Cheese Awards judging arena, experimental tasting sessions, an Asturex Agrifood Forum, an Origin Zone (exploring European Quality Schemes such as PGIs and PDOs), a Cheese Market and even a Gastro Cheese Comedy line-up.
John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the World Cheese Awards, commented: “Following the trials and tribulations of the past 12 months, we’re delighted to be making plans for the World Cheese Awards’ return to Spain. The cheese world has felt the economic impact of COVID-19 in a big way, followed by a huge outpouring of public support in many countries, so this year’s competition holds greater significance than ever before. Not only will it be an opportunity for the cheese community to reconnect, share experiences and do business, but the awards themselves will provide hard-earned recognition for those cheesemakers who have gone above and beyond to keep their craft alive. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have such committed partners in the Instituto del Queso, the Principality of Asturias and the City Council of Oviedo, as the competition faced its first ever postponement in over three decades. We’re now looking forward to working with them to stage the biggest cheese-only event the world has ever seen, using this as catalyst for the revitalisation of the region’s restaurants, food producers and tourism industry.”
Luisa Villegas, Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival director and CEO of Instituto del Queso, commented: “It is necessary to create a professional space for the different agents who will turn cheese into a food of excellence for the whole value chain. The main goal is to achieve interactions between those professionals to take a qualitative leap forward for the cheese sector. Asturias is Spain’s most important dairy region, highly qualified to lead the movement for cheese positioning as an essential food for the future. This international festival is based on sustainability, where producers, researchers, investment agents and public and private entities will meet in Oviedo. This festival will host the world’s most important professionals from these sectors. It is an honour for the Instituto del Queso to organise the Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival 2021, thanks to the support of public institutions and local agents from tourism and retail.”
The World Cheese Awards will form part of the Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival 2021, due to take place at the Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos in Oviedo, Spain between 3-6 November 2021.