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British Cheese Awards 2008 — winners announced

British Cheese Awards 2008 — winners announced

The British Cheese Awards, the annual celebration of the very best of the British Cheese industry, has announced the winners of this year’s hard-fought competition, with quality being recognised across the board, in both artisan and commercial sectors.

Of the record-breaking 910 cheeses entered into this year’s Awards, the Supreme Champion, as decided by a panel of top industry experts including cheese buyers, journalists, chefs and food critics, was judged as Barkham Blue from the Two Hoots creamery based in Barkham, Berkshire. The cheese also scooped a hat trick with the winning of the title ‘Best English Cheese’ and ‘Best Blue Cheese’.

The Best Scottish Cheese was ‘Connage Crowdie’ from the Connage Highland Dairy where cows graze the clover-rich pastures along the shores of the Moray Firth. Best Irish Cheese went to ‘Laviston’ from Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese, while ‘Pont Gar Garlic + Herbs’ from Carmarthenshire Cheese won best Welsh.

Somerset cheesemaker Chris Duckett was voted Cheese Person of the Year for unswerving dedication to making the highest quality cheeses over a number of decades. Also, demonstrating that restaurants are now embracing the choice and quality that British Cheese has to offer, the winner of Best British Cheeseboard went to Allium of Fairford, Gloucestershire.

Established in 1994, the British Cheese Awards were created to provide a symbol of excellence for cheese lovers, reward such excellence and highlight the extraordinary diversity and growth in British Cheese.

SUPREME CHAMPION 2008: Barkham Blue / Two Hoots Cheese

What the judges say:
Beneath its sticky barely formed knobbly natural rind this blue cheese has a very buttery yellow interior characteristic of Channel Island milk with chunky blue blotchy veins. It tastes sweet with a spicy butter flavour and an aromatic peppery, rocket-like bite. Visually it looks wicked, like a space capsule with a fine dusting of white, pale mould over a pale brown crust. It has lots of well-scattered chunky blue streaks, which give a spicy, metallic, ‘teeth tingling’ blue and a dark chocolate cocoa on the finish.

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