The Artisan Cheese Fair held in Melton Mowbray from April 30 to May 1 will be host to the first ever Artisan Cheese Awards.
Cheese-makers from across the UK will be recognised and the awards are open to any cheese-maker in the British Isles producing less than 250 tonnes of cheese a year.
The fair is a traditional event held within the halls of Melton Mowbray’s heritage Cattle Market, now in its sixth year the 2016 fair is expecting around 60 cheese makers.
It’s a real chance for visitors to sample and purchase many of the 300 popular and rare cheeses on show.
As well as cheese’s visitors can buy and try an array Melton’s famous pork pies as well as beers, wines, cakes and chutneys.
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 and a further prize of £500 will be awarded to the best cheese maker producing less than 50 tonnes a year.
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.”
Classes for the first year of the awards will be:
- Best British Territorial Cheese
- Best Protected Food Name Cheese
- 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.
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.”
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
By Jessica Sterland