The 29th annual World Cheese Awards will open for entry from Wednesday 17 August, with organizers, the Guild of Fine Food, expecting more cheese-makers than ever to enter as the competition heads to San Sebastián this year, during the city’s tenure as European Capital of Culture.
Dedicated only to cheese, with no other dairy products able to enter, the World Cheese Awards, supported by Artzai Gazta and the Basque Country Government, will be the showpiece event at the inaugural International Cheese Festival. Being held between 16-18 November 2016, this global celebration of cheese will be open to consumers and tourists, as well as food professionals, buyers, and retailers.
Major figures in the cheese world will come together to discuss dairy industry issues in a conference environment, whilst consumers will have the opportunity to learn about cheeses from all over the globe through talks surrounding the World Cheese Awards, in the process raising awareness of local artisan cheese production and helping to promote the region’s culture, gastronomy and tourism.
Cheeses from over 30 different countries are expected to line up in front of 250 judges from every corner of the globe, including international buyers, retailers, writers and cheesemakers, providing a golden opportunity for small artisan producers to spotlight their cheese on a world stage. With all tasting, nosing and conferring taking place within a single day, thousands of entries will be judged in order to identify any cheeses worthy of a Bronze, Silver or Gold award, before the World Champion Cheese is crowned later in the afternoon.
The World Cheese Awards is open for entry from Wednesday 17 August until Tuesday 11 October, unless the entry cap is reached before this date – early entry is recommended. Producers can enter online at www.gff.co.uk/wca.
The World Cheese Awards judging will commence on Wednesday 16 November. All entries will be judged and whittled down to the top 60 in just one day. Then the best 16 cheeses will be voted for by a final judging panel later in the afternoon, when the 2016 World Champion Cheese will be crowned.
Judges work in teams of four, identifying any cheeses worthy of a Bronze, Silver or Gold award. Each team then nominates one exceptional cheese as the Super Gold from their table – their favourite cheese in the session. These 60 cheeses are then judged a second time by the Super Jury of 16 internationally recognised experts, who each select a cheese to champion in the final round of judging. The Super Jury, representing all four corners of the globe, then debate the final 16 in front of a live audience to choose the World Champion Cheese, announced live on WCA TV.
Participants in the festival will include PDO cheese producers from Spain and internationally renowned chefs, as well as artisans, universities and companies in the cheese and gastronomic industry. The festival will be open to all, allowing the public to participate in this unprecedented celebration of cheese.