12 July 2019

International Cheese Awards Press Evening

International Cheese Awards 2019

Whenever my parents and I open the refrigerator lately, our noses are immediately assaulted by the potent and unmistakable aroma of cheese. Which isn't altogether surprising, having returned from the press evening for the International Cheese & Dairy Awards with two goodie bags laden with vintage Cheddars, crumbling Cheshires, and wheels of gooey Camembert.

Much like last year's event, the evening was a majestic all-you-can-eat banquet of award-winning cheeses, held in the Southwark studio space of Lumiere London. Following an informative talk from Charlie Turnball, Director of the Academy of Cheese (where do we enrol?!), and wine pairings with Bradburys' Richard Paul, Maddy and I hungrily navigated a tantalising selection of cheeses supplied by the world's most accomplished cheesemakers, twice as many as last summer's spread, while stubbornly ignoring the inconvenient reality that my gut has since developed an intolerance to dairy. Hedonism has its drawbacks.

In satisfying my turophile temptations, I discovered my palate has a particular penchance for flavoured cheeses, such as Bradburys' White Stilton with Mango & Ginger and Dragon's Vintage Cheddar & Leek. But the ultimate choice had to be "The Guru" by Orsom, a red Leicester infused with flavours of mango chutney, which myself and Maddy couldn't help returning to throughout the evening. Frustratingly, this awesome Orsom was the one brand that wasn't present in the goodie bag, and I can't bring myself to purchase myself a truckle until my family and I make a greater dent in our supplies! (Anybody fancy helping us out?)

International Cheese Awards 2019 International Cheese Awards 2019 International Cheese Awards 2019 International Cheese Awards 2019

Although held annually since 1897, the International Cheese & Dairy Awards remains little-known beyond the cheesemaking industry. Hence this intimate gathering of food bloggers and journalists, to encourage budding cheese connoisseurs to venture north for a slice or twenty of exceptionally good artisan cheese. Certainly I was tempted when they offered us all the chance to participate as judges.

This year's competition invites industry members to attend on Tuesday 30th July, when a panel of three-hundred cheese and dairy experts shall determine the 2019 winners from more than five-thousand global entries. The show then opens its doors to the wider public on Wednesday 31st, where ticket holders will be treated to more than fifty cheese exhibitors alongside cookery demonstrations from James Martin and other professional chefs. I admit a Wednesday seems a tad awkward for a food festival, but for those who can't attend this summer, fear not, organisers have announced the 2020 show shall be held over a weekend.

The International Cheese & Dairy Awards is held alongside The Nantwich Show, the UK's largest one-day agricultural gala, through whom you can purchase tickets.

International Cheese Awards 2019 International Cheese Awards 2019 International Cheese Awards 2019 International Cheese Awards 2019

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