Brits produce more cheeses than the French!
15:13 18 July 2012
Cheese guru and British Cheese Awards founder, Juliet Harbutt, today announced that over 900 entries are expected this year in the British Cheese Awards, made up of over 700 unique British cheeses more than the number of cheeses made across France!
Over 70% of Britains independent cheesemakers enter each year making the British Cheese Awards the biggest of all the competitions. It will be judged on Friday 31st August 2012 on the Village Green in Churchill, Oxfordshire.
British cheese is on a roll, says Juliet. France has 100s more cheesemakers than we do but in fact Britain produces more unique cheeses including 145 goats milk cheeses and 70 or more blues!
Celebrating the UK cheese industry
Now in its nineteenth year, the British Cheese Awards is the most prestigious event in the cheese industry calendarand celebrates the very highest quality and diversity of cheeses made in the UK.
The Awards are a totally independent event and their success and prestige are due to the number of entries and the integrity and experience of the judging panel, made up of 55 experts from well-known food writers and retailers to some of the worlds most powerful food buyers.
Over 900 individual cheeses, from tiny goat cheeses to 26kg cloth wrapped cheddars, are entered into 136 classes to be sniffed, squeezed and tasted by the experts. To ensure an overall standard of excellence, there are no first, second or third prizes.
Instead, judges may award as many, or as few, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in any class as they feel are appropriate.
Award winners are chosen from all the Gold medal winners in each main category, like Blue or Cheddar, and finally, from the 10 main award winners, just one becomes Supreme Champion.
In addition there are special awards like Cheese Person of the Year, Best New Cheese Deli and Best Cheeseboard Award, to reward those who support, promote or campaign for British cheese.
On Saturday September 1, following the judging on Friday August 31, there are several amazing cheese tastings to take advantage of the rapidly ripening 900 cheeses in the marquee on Churchill village green.At 6pm, Cheeses on the Rack gives just 50 people (35pp and includes Cheeses under the Stars) the opportunity to taste a diverse range of cheeses and gain a unique insight into how the judges decide what makes a superb cheese.Theyll also discover how to match wine, beer or cider with a selection of cheese.
At 8pm, Cheeses Under the Stars begins (20pp, open to all). This gives cheese lovers the chance to wander the cheese marquees, meet the experts, take a cheese tour, create their perfect cheeseboard and sample many of the 900 cheeses on display. Salads, breads and music are provided (within the ticket price) and theres also a paying bar serving great beers, wines and ciders.
Excellence in British cheesemaking
As with the Oscars, a short list of all the contenders is announced the week after the judging. The actual winners of the 23 awards will be announced on Friday September 21at the Awards Dinner in Cardiff City Hall which also launches British Cheese Week (Saturday September 22to Sunday September 30).
The awards represent excellence in British cheesemaking, says Juliet. In 2011, 906 cheeses from 182 cheesemakers were judged by 60 judges but only 33% were awarded medals, making it the toughest of all the awards, but it means the medals represent a symbol of excellence.
The British Cheese Awards and Cheeses on the Green also broaden the discussion of cheese and its importance in both domestic and commercial environments, and demonstrates that British cheeses are every bit as diverse and complex as their European counterparts.
Top 10 facts about British cheese
- Contrary to popular belief, Britains cheesemakers produce more cheeses than the French there are 700 unique cheeses made in the UK compared with around 600 in France.
- Cheese is less fattening than chocolate. Cheddar has on average 35g of fat per 100g, while chocolate has 36.5g and the average portion of cheese, at 25g, is far smaller than of chocolate. Plus there are only 318 calories in 100g of Brie, for example, compared with 528 calories in 100g of plain chocolate.
- Over 85% of British cheeses are suitable for vegetarians, using vegetarian rennet.
- Cheddar is still the most popular cheese in Britain, but sales and varieties of Flavour Added cheeses have shown enormous growth in the past two decades. And there are now over 60 British blues.
- The softer the cheese, the lower the fat %, the harder the cheese the higher the fat %. So Brie-style cheeses, for example, are typically around 24 - 26% fat compared with Cheddar which is 34%.
- The number of British cheeses has rocketed from 296 since 1994, when the prestigious British Cheese Awards began, to 905 entered in 2011.
- It is a myth that Britain does not produce raw milk or unpasteurised cheeses. There are over 165 to choose between.
- It takes nearly 80 litres of milk to make every magnificent 8kg Stilton, which is one of the few English cheeses protected by law under the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) system. It is made by only 6 producers.
- Many people think goats cheese is a single type, but in fact any cheese made with cows milk can be made with goat, ewe or even buffalo milk. There are over 145 goats cheeses made in Britain today including 5 blues and over 15 soft-white or Camembert style.
- The quality of our wonderful traditional cheeses like Red Leicester, the Gloucesters and Cheddar has improved enormously in the past two decades. This is reflected in the block or factory made cheeses, as well as those made by hand and lovingly clothbound.
You can book tickets to Cheeses on the Green via www.thecheeseweb.com or by phoning 01608 659 325