Top world honours for Australian cheese

Australia’s dairy industry defied the drought to claim two of the world’s top cheese honours in the 2008 World Championship Cheese Contest.

A Camembert and a Parmesan triumphed over the world’s best to win their classes in the largest international cheese and butter competition.

It was a double-bill win for Tasmanian Heritage Traditional Camembert which only last month was named Grand Champion Cheese at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

There was even more reason to celebrate as the same team from National Foods also ranked second in the same class with the Tasmanian Heritage Signature Camembert.

Dairy Australia’s Food Communications Manager Naomi Crisante said: “Expect to see the world’s serious Camembert lovers beating a path to Burnie to discover the secret of such a world-beating double.”

Meanwhile, from the pastures of Simpson in south-west Victoria came the other winner, Dairy Farmers Mil Lel Superior Parmesan.

Crisante said: “There’s some heavy-duty hard cheese know-how down there at Simpson because at last month’s Australian Grand Dairy Awards run by Dairy Australia, the same class was won by the sister cheese, Dairy Farmers Mil Lel Superior Romano.

“We consider it an honour that cheeses selected by the judges of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards have now also been recognised by a panel of international judges from a field boasting some of the world’s great cheeses.

“The news is praise for every Australian dairy farmer who has struggled through drought, higher costs, uncertainty and industry shrinkage. It underlines our faith in the quality of Australian milk and the skills of our cheesemakers,” she said.

The Australian entries were vying for honours alongside dairy foods from the US, Canada, Scandanavia, Switzerland, Austria, NZ, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and South Africa.

The 27th Biennial World Championship Cheese was staged over three days in Madison, Wisconsin. The 2006 contest attracted 1795 entries from 18 nations and this year’s contest was bigger-still. An expanded selection of classes confronted this year’s 22 judges, 11 from nations outside the US, including Australian Neil Willman from Little River, Victoria.

“This is truly the world’s great dairy food contest — the Olympics of the dairy industry,” said Crisante. “And Australian cheeses are up there on the winner’s podium.

“We congratulate the companies involved, the cheese artisans who craft the cheese and, most of all, the farmers who supply world-beating raw product. The prize goes to you all.”

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

Tasmanian Heritage Traditional Camembert

Dairy Australia

Dairy Farmers