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02nd June, 2018

The overall Supreme Champion, out of over 1,000 cheeses entered, was Sheep Rustler from Somerset based cheesemaker White Lake Cheese. Sheep Rustler is made using thermised ewe’s milk, then aged for around three months. The result is a semi-hard cheese with a medium, mellow flavour that is slightly nutty with a hint of caramel.

Roger Longman, co-founder and cheesemaker at White Lake Cheese, says: “We were thrilled to win Supreme Champion this year for Sheep Rustler. This award really reflects on how much this is a team effort. From the cheesemakers, cheese washers and cheese packers, everyone at White Lake Cheese had a part to play. This accolade is a testament to all the hard work and dedication we put in to the cheeses we make. 

“The British Cheese Awards are the premier cheese awards in the UK and to us are the ones that matter. The evening was a superb experience for us and it means so much for us to be judged by our peers. The event and the judges are the best in the country and they really are a superb celebration of British cheesemakers .”

As well as Supreme Champion, the Reserve Champion, the four Country Awards and the eight Main Category Awards, there were also 13 Special Awards given to cheesemakers. Within the Special Awards there was a new award this year for Best Sheep Milk Cheese.

This year’s competition attracted over 1,000 entries from 147 makers, with 77 judges reviewing 123 classes of cheese. Cheeses entered came from over 54 counties that covered the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland, showing just how vibrant the British Cheese Industry is today.

Peter Mitchell, chairman of the British Cheese Awards, says: “The number and quality of the cheeses entered for this year’s awards has been exceptional and made judging and choosing the winners a real challenge. We’re delighted that White Lake Cheese, a local Somerset cheesemaker, won the Supreme Champion trophy for its Sheep Rustler; a delicious and intriguing ewe’s milk cheese.”

“We’re very fortunate in this country to have such a great number of dedicated and skilled cheesemakers that are renowned for their excellence and commitment to quality. This is reflected in the cheeses that were judged this year. All the cheeses that were entered into the competition are on display at the Royal Bath & West Show until this Saturday 2nd June.”

All the cheeses were scored on presentation, texture, aroma, flavour and balance. Dependent on the scores that each cheese received, gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded.

The British Cheese Awards were started by cheese expert Juliet Harbutt in 1994 to celebrate the renaissance in British cheese making and to raise awareness of the diversity and quality of British artisan cheese. In the first year there were 296 entries from 97 cheesemakers but by 2015 there were nearly 1,000 from 296 Cheesemakers! At the invitation of the committee, Juliet returned to the UK to judge at this year’s awards and presented one of the awards at the dinner.

Juliet says: “I’m delighted to have been invited by the committee to attend this year’s awards. I can’t quite believe it’s 25 years since I started them and I’m thrilled to see they’re still going strong, attracting entries from across the British Isles highlighting the extraordinary range of cheeses we make.” 

The Awards also welcomed Michel Roux OBE, and the holder of 3 Michelin Stars, at his restaurant The Waterside Inn for over 30 years, restaurateur, author, as a Senior Judge. Mon. Roux was a member of the Supreme Champion Panel, members of which judged which of the 1,000 cheeses entered was crowned the Supreme Champion 2018.

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