A Day at the World Cheese Awards 2022 | Barbury Hill

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A Day at the World Cheese Awards 2022

There are several wonderful things we love about Wales – the Pembrokeshire coastline, Caerphilly Castle, Snowdonia, the Smallest House in the UK, and the Aberystwyth Food Festival. But when we heard that the 2022 World Cheese Awards were in Cardiff, we were more excited than ever to cross the Severn Bridge. If there’s one thing we can sniff out from miles away, it’s world-class cheese. 

Experiencing the World Cheese Awards for the first time

Can you imagine walking into a room of 4,434 cheeses and 250 judges? A sea of artisan cheese spread over table after table, the expert judges putting each piece through its paces, and the smells! We might already be curd nerds at Barbury Hill HQ but we were captivated from the moment we arrived. This global cheese event brings together cheesemakers, retailers, buyers and food commentators from around the world to judge over 4,000 cheeses from over 40 countries and the competition is fierce.

How the Competition Works

The judging happens over a single day and takes in cheese from every corner of the world. The expert judges are split into teams of three and judge a table of 45 different cheeses to identify cheeses worthy of a trophy – this could be a Gold, Silver or Bronze. As with any cheese tasting, they will carefully inspect the rind and body, its texture, consistency, colour and of course, its taste. Each team then nominates one cheese for Super Gold from their table (only one cheese from each table can be put forward).

At this stage, these exceptional cheeses have already earned the accolade of being considered amongst the best in the world, having made the top 100. But they are then put through yet another tasting and judged a second time by a Super Jury of well-respected experts who take the list down to 16 (these are Super Gold Winners). This stage is a bit like Strictly Come Dancing or The Great British Bake Off, where the judges score the cheeses for everyone to see and debate the Champion cheese.

The World Cheese Awards Judging Panel

It is the judging panel’s quality and experience that has given the World Cheese Awards the credibility and respect it deserves. The judging panel is made up of key industry professionals from 38 different countries and the application process ensures a good balance of expertise, age, gender and discipline. This year’s awards, like many others, saw the panel made up of retailers, chefs, producers, journalists, graders and technologists. Before the awards start the judges attend sensory training sessions and are strictly advised not to drink coffee, smoke or wear perfume prior to judging. Let’s just say they take cheese very seriously at the World Cheese Awards!

The Best of British - British Super Gold Winners 

Barbury Hill was thrilled to see so many British producers in the competition – British cheese has come a long way since the awards started 30 years ago and with four British cheeses in the final 16, the Best of British are truly competing at a world class level. 

We were particularly pleased to see one of Barbury Hill’s favourite producers, Sinodun Hill in the final 16, amongst three other British cheeses to be awarded Super Golds. British cheese has come on in leaps and bounds over the past decade and it’s certainly an exciting time to be involved and witness the small producers creating innovative, delicious new British cheeses.

The British winners at the World Cheese Awards 2022 were:

Ticklemore Cheese, Devon Blue

Village Maid Cheese, Spenwood

Trethowan’s Dairy, Gorwydd Caerphilly 

Norton & Yarrow, Sinodun Hill

You can see a list of winners at The Guild of Fine Food 

Find a Super Gold in Barbury Boxes

If you’d like to find out what all the fuss is about, you can taste Sinodun Hill for yourself in Barbury Hill’s Barbury Boxes. Filled with delectable British goodies, these boxes bring together the best food and drink from small, independent farmers, bakers and cheesemakers. We knew it was a worthy addition to our first Barbury Boxes but now it has the seal of approval from 250 expert judges! Which British cheese do you think could win the World Cheese Awards? Get in touch to let us know your favourites and you might just see them featured in our Artisan Cheese category.