The World Cheese Awards will open for entry from Monday 23 August, with organisers, the Guild of Fine Food, inviting cheesemakers across the globe to submit their products to be judged by an international panel of 230 experts from 30 different countries.
Dedicated only to cheese, with no other dairy products judged, the 33rd World Cheese Awards will take place in Oviedo on Wednesday 3 November as part of the Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival 2021, run by the Instituto del Queso, in partnership with the Principality of Asturias and the City Council of Oviedo.
Following a turbulent time for cheesemakers over the past 18 months, the organisers are anticipating a greater number of entries than ever before, so are encouraging producers to submit their cheeses early before the entry cap is reached. With up to 4,000 cheeses from six continents expected to line up in Oviedo, this is set to be the largest cheese-only competition the world has ever seen.
Providing a global platform for cheesemaking excellence, from multi award-winners to tiny artisans, the World Cheese Awards will give Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards, as its judging panel directs buyers everywhere to the world’s finest cheeses. The International Super Jury will then debate the best of the best live on WCA TV, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.
An opportunity for the global cheese community to come together after a year of extraordinary challenges, the World Cheese Awards will be at the heart of the International Cheese Festival; a four day festival dedicated only to cheese. From 3-6 November 2021, Oviedo’s awe-inspiring Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos will provide the setting for the industry to reunite, do business, expand networks and look to the future.
Building upon the Asturias region’s rich cheesemaking heritage, the festival will present a packed programme of events for both trade and consumer visitors, including an exhibition, the 2nd Scientific Forum for Dairy Innovation, tours of the World Cheese Awards judging arena, experimental tasting sessions, an Asturex Agrifood Forum, an Origin Zone (exploring European Quality Schemes such as PGIs and PDOs), a Cheese Market and even a Gastro Cheese Comedy line-up.
John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the World Cheese Awards, commented: “The World Cheese Awards’ return to Spain will be a huge moment for the international cheese community, not only giving us the opportunity to reunite, but also to celebrate the resilience of an industry that’s had to dig deep to weather the global pandemic. Innovation has flourished in adversity, so we’re expecting an exciting array of new cheeses to be entered this year, but it will also give us great pleasure to witness the return of more established cheeses from around the world, having survived trials and tribulations of COVID-19. With entries from around 40 different countries, this will be a truly international contest, but we’re expecting a strong showing from the hosts too – with 300 cheeses produced in Asturias, I’m confident a fair few accolades will be heading their way.”
Luisa Villegas, Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival director and CEO of Instituto del Queso, commented: “The directive committee is very pleased with the international interest that the festival has created. We are having a great impact on the international dairy community, with so many cheesemakers excited to compete to be named the World Champion Cheese 2021 in Oviedo. Moreover, the Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival is a great indicator of cheese as a way of instigating economic growth. In line with this, we are working with dairy professionals to establish a scientific approach to future alimentation, creating recognisable value from the festival.”