Wednesday, 27 March 2024 15:53

Medals galore for Fonterra cheeses

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
The range of award-winning Kapiti cheeses. The range of award-winning Kapiti cheeses.

Fonterra cheeses are continuing their golden run at the annual New Zealand Cheese Awards.

The co-operative took home a total of 52 awards, including 21 for its premium Kapiti range this week. For the fourth time in five years, Kāpiti Kikorangi Triple Cream Blue won gold in the Blue Cheese category, cementing its place as the most awarded cheese in New Zealand.

After checking, sniffing and tasting more than 250 locally produced cheeses, the 30-person judging panel, led by Master Judge Jason Tarrant awarded medals to 187 entries - 72 gold, 71 silver and 44 bronze medals. The 2024 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards trophy winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Hamilton on May 2.

Fonterra’s Mainland won gold for its new Special Reserve Chilli and Garlic Brie launched late last year, while NZMP won six gold and Anchor rounded out the golden tally with two medals.

Marketing and innovation director for Fonterra Brands New Zealand Renée Milkop Kerr says the wins cement Fonterra’s position as the leading player in cheesemaking in New Zealand.

Kāpiti and Mainland’s specialty cheese range are produced at the co-op’s Eltham site in Taranaki, which has been making cheese for more than 100 years from high quality milk produced by local dairy farmers. Fonterra’s Lichfield, Hautapu, Stirling and Whareroa sites also took away awards for their cheeses.

Cathy Lang from the Eltham site has also been nominated for the 2024 Champion Cheesemaker award: she previously won this award in 2022.

“Our team puts in a lot of work to create our beloved Kāpiti cheese range, it’s fantastic to see that be acknowledged by the judges,” says Lang.

Owned and managed by the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association, the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards are in their 21st year of recognising NZ’s finest cheeses and shining a light on the best examples to guide consumers on purchase decisions with trophies and medals awarded to outstanding NZ Cheese.

Tarrant said the intense judgement affirmed the exceptional quality of locally made cheese.

 “This is the 21st year of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards and competition continues recognise the ingenuity, passion, and dedication of Kiwi cheesemakers.”

Tarrant says the medals are a testament to their relentless pursuit of perfection, sparing no effort to craft cheeses that rival the finest in the world.

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