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First ever Artisan Cheese Awards Launches

Cheese

UK Supreme Champion cheesemaker to be crowned at Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbray from 30 April to 1 May 2016

Artisan cheesemakers across the UK will be recognised at the first-ever Artisan Cheese Awards to be held at this year’s Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbray from 30 April to 1 May. The awards will be open to any cheesemaker in the British Isles producing less than 250 tonnes of cheese a year to celebrate the craft and skill of the small artisan cheese maker.

First prize at the awards for the Supreme Champion will be a cheque for £1,000. Sponsor of the trophy is A la Carte Packaging Solutions, a leading provider of ‘one stop shop’ packaging products to the cheese industry. To encourage small producers, a further prize of £500 will be awarded to the best cheese maker producing less than 50 tonnes a year.

Judging for the awards will take place on Friday 29 April with the awards being presented at the Cheese Makers’ Supper on Saturday 30 April. Entry forms are available to download from www.artisancheesefair.co.uk and must be returned by Tuesday 4 April 2016

Classes for the first year of the awards will be: Soft, Semi-soft, Hard, Blue, Best British Territorial Cheese*, Best Protected Food Name Cheese**, and Best cheese recently launched on the market. In addition to the award winners for each class, awards will be given to the best goat’s cheese and the best ewe’s cheese.

‘The People’s Favourite’ best artisan cheese will be judged by the public during the Artisan Cheese Fair and will be announced after the event.

Chairman of the Melton Mowbray Food Partnership and organiser of the Artisan Cheese Fair, Matthew O’Callaghan said: “The awards are a natural extension of the Fair. It means that small artisan producers can compete on a level playing field without the dominance of the large commercial producers which occurs in some of the cheese awards.”

Will Atkinson from Hill Farm Dairy in Somerset said: "This is a terrific thing to have set up! Well done."

Paul Carter of sponsor, A la Carte Packaging Solutions said: “It gives me great pleasure as the owner of A la Carte Packaging Solutions to be involved as a sponsor of the ‘Supreme Champion’ of the very first Artisan Cheese Awards. The ‘smaller in volume but producers of top quality products’ are just as important to the diverse cheese market of the UK and have not only their own cheese show, but now also their own awards to which they can aspire.

“As the only ‘one stop shop’ for cheese packers both big and small, I have found the cheese people of the UK to be an absolute pleasure to work with. I hope to make acquaintance with more of the special cheese people in the artisan sector as a result of being involved with the show. May I take this opportunity to wish all competitors the very best of luck!” added Paul Carter.

The Artisan Cheese Fair takes place on the first May Bank Holiday weekend. Entrance is priced at £3. For more information on the Artisan Cheese Fair 2016, visit www.artisancheesefair.co.uk