News

New Zealand cheese championship kicks off in Auckland

Date: February 2020

A panel of judges at the New Zealand Cheese Championship in Auckland are tasting their way through hundreds of samples to crown the victor of the prestigious prize.

The judges appear to have the best job in the world – blind-taste-testing cheese.

First, they unwrap their mystery parcel, then cut it, assess it, and finally spit it out. They rinse with water, then repeat.
The panel of 23 judges are tasting more than 300 samples on their hunt for the winners of the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards, and they’re overseen by Master Judge Russell Smith.

So who are these cheese connoisseurs?

“People who make cheddar, they are used to grading cheddar or goudas, blues – people who are experts in that field,” Smith told Newshub

He says not all cheeses are made equal, and for this reason the judges are separated into the categories they’re expert in.

“You have a blue cheese, a cheddar, a brie. They have anything in common? Only that they’re made from milk,” Smith says.

“What is an attribute in one cheese, something you’re looking for, might be a defect in another cheese.”

The cheese is judged on three criteria; appearance is worth 10 points, texture is worth 30 and flavour tips the scales with 60 points.

Smith says the judges have their work cut out for them and palate cleanses are a must.

On each table is a bowl of apples, crackers and bottles of mineral water to swill before moving on to the next sample.

And while it seems sacrilegious to spit the cheese out, it’s a necessary step.

“You probably wouldn’t feel well after 40 or 50 cheeses. But also if you’re full your brain just turns off when you’re trying to assess the criteria,” Smith says.

It’ll take up to a month to tally up which cheese reigns supreme, so Newshub asked Smith which his favourite was.

“My favourite cheese is usually the cheese I’m putting in my mouth at any one time. I like nearly all of them.”

Smith says people should try out all the different types of cheese available at our supermarkets because you just might find a new favourite of your own.

Other News

The announcement of the Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) today is seen as an exciting opportunity for training and education in the primary industries. The Food and Fibre CoVE is one of a number of CoVEs that will be created through the Government’s Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE)… Sep 2020

Some of you may have seen a familiar face on the evening news on Wednesday. Chris Leach has been contracted to help develop the DairyNZ “Go Dairy” programme. The three week programme has been designed as an introductory course for people looking to change careers and join the Dairy Industry… July 2020

Leading training provider QCONZ has partnered with Primary ITO to deliver all off-job training for dairy farming in the lower South Island and nationwide for compliance-based training such as Milk Quality, Dealing with Farm Effluent and an introductory course for those new to milking called Milk Smart Principles… June 2020

QCONZ is very proud to announce that we have successfully tendered to be the national deliverer of farm dairy audits and associated services for Fonterra… May 2020

We at QCONZ are proud to support The #PlantASeedForSafety Project in New Zealand.

Targeted at rural women, this project shares positive stories about health, safety and wellbeing in order to influence change in rural industries and communities and boost women’s confidence in their ability to influence change… May 2020

It was a credit to our business to have Brittany Hill, a Farms Team member invited to present at the Massey University Farm Landscape Research Center Conference in February… Feb 2020

For the past two decades the auditing work of QCONZ has been helping New Zealand’s primary industry build an international reputation for sustainable, ethical and safe food production… Feb 2020

Technology is all around us and constantly evolving. “Business leaders are looking for ways to keep up with an ever-changing world of customer expectations and regulatory compliance,” says QCONZ general manager business development…

Participants also got a first glance of the new bobby calf-tracking application, designed for use by all members of the value chain, including farmers, transporters and processors, and being trialled at four meat plants during the autumn calving season…

QCONZ is contracted to supply milk quality consultancy advice and training in the Dairy Excellence Training Initiative project currently running in Sri Lanka. As a part of our service we offered to convert a farm KPI calculator, developed specifically…

Milk Bar has been launched in Brazil. The feedback to date has been excellent and it is good to see this project realised. See more at: www.milkbar.com.br

As a company, QCONZ is always looking to grow and diversification is key to this growth. An obvious target for us, given our expertise and core skills, is the red meat sector. On Sunday 30th July Chris Leach, Justin Moss and Peter Wood travelled down…

In May this year QCONZ embraced the chance to take over the SPCA Blue Tick animal welfare accreditation scheme as a third party auditor. The SPCA Blue Tick brand is an animal welfare accreditation scheme that carries the respect of the SPCA brand…

In conjunction with NZTE QCONZ was part of the New Zealand stand at the 2017 China Dairy Expo in Nanjing. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet with the people and get a really good understanding of the market and opportunities in China for QCONZ…

We're here to help