Tim Hampson's Beer Blog

The quest for the perfect beer

You know they know best, don’t they?

leave a comment »

Image

 

Having just returned from being a chair of one of the judging panels for this year’s World Cheese Awards – it makes a change from beer – I’ve certainly found a way of upping my cholesterol count.

Sampling 45 cheeses in two hours is quite a task. But someone had to do it!

More than 3,000 top cheeses were expected at the competition, which is a centrepiece of the BBC Good Food Show, NEC Birmingham.

However, the hopes of the organisers were totally cheesed off (No more cheese jokes please – Ed) when the organisers claimed a new Brussels directive prevented Japan, South Africa and Brazil from competing in the Olympics of cheese.

“Is this the thin end of the wedge?” asked one of the organisers who was appealing to the to the Food Standards Agency to help overturn an EU ruling that prevents Japan, South Africa and several countries from South America, including Brazil, importing samples of cheese for judging.

A recent change to EU legislation over concerns about animal health rules and the safe handling of milk means that a number of countries have been denied permission by DEFRA, which is following the strict letter of the law of the EU directive, to enter the world’s largest international cheese competition.

Top cheese Bob Farrand, chairman of the World Cheese Awards, was completely pissed off.

The grand fromage said: “This is extremely sad for several hundred artisan cheese makers around the world. The World Cheese Awards is their global event but these EU regulations are preventing them from entering.

“Many small rural businesses benefit enormously from winning at the Awards and this country benefits from much needed overseas revenue.”

For more than 10 years Farrand has applied for, and have been granted, permission by DEFRA to import artisan cheeses from outside the EU.

And he follows the importation rules to the letter – which means the imported cheeses, have to be incinerated after the event.

Farrand continued: “The ruling prohibits entry of cheeses from Japan into the EU and yet last June I judged at the Mondiale du Fromage in France and tasted several Japanese cheeses.

“Clearly other countries don’t kowtow to Brussels in quite the same way we do. It means we’ll have to think seriously about taking the World Cheese Awards abroad in future.”

It would be shame if the awards did move to another country. Still, one cheese maker from Germany did have plenty to shout about at the end of the day.

Celebrations were the order of the day in Bavaria as a cheese made by a family dairy Kaserei Champignon has taken not just the top World Champion spot, but second place too with the same cheese.

The Montagnolo Affiné, pictured above, a creamy blue cheese, impressed the world’s top cheese judges The cheese had been entered into two different classes in the World Cheese Awards and when judges re-judged, tasted and voted the final 15 Super Golds, the cheese came both first and second.

It’s the first time a German cheese has won the top honour.

Hopefully, next year, cheeses from the banned countries will once again be able to take part in this competition, and those who control the importation of cheese into the UK will allow them in  – for they really do know best.

 

Advertisements

Written by timhampson

November 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: