Best cheeses

See Also

Best Wines

Best Cheeses in New Zealand

Cheeses made in the style of traditional Dutch cheesemakers have again dominated New Zealand's annual awards.

Self-titled "Dutchies" secured all three supreme titles at the 2015 New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards, the third consecutive year they have scooped top honours.
Master Judge Russell Smith says the locally-made Dutch-style cheese is "as good as it gets anywhere in the world".

The prestigious Champion of Champions Cheese Award for large cheese producers was won by a Dutch-style cheese made in the Bay of Islands - Very Old Edam by Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese.

A Dutch hand also created the best Artisan cheese in the land. Mercer Cheese (lead by cheesemaker Albert Alferink) won the Puhoi Valley Champion Artisan Cheese Award for its Mercer Mature Cumin.

Completing the Dutch trifecta was Miel Meyer, of Meyer Gouda Cheese, winning the Milktest NZ Champion Cheesemaker Award for second time in the awards' history.

The 2015 competition was one of the toughest yet with more than 470 specialty cheeses, yoghurts and butters entered.

Each entry was examined by a technical and an aesthetic judge as a duo, and strictly graded to gold, silver and bronze standards.

Winners and best cheeses in New Zealand 2015 

Countdown Champion of Champions Cheese Award
Very Old Edam - Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

Puhoi Valley Champion Artisan Cheese Award
Mercer Mature Cumin - Mercer Cheese

Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker Award
Miel Meyer - Meyer Gouda Cheese

Food for Chefs Champion Butter Award
Lewis Road Creamery Premium Butter lightly salted - Lewis Road Creamery

Green Valley Dairies Champion Yoghurt Award
Clevedon Valley Buffalo Boysenberry Yoghurt - Clevedon Valley Buffalo Company

The Langham Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award
Zany Zeus Crème Fraiche - Zany Zeus

Kiwi Labels Champion Feta Cheese Award
Mainland Special Reserve Traditional Feta - Fonterra Brands NZ

Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award
Grinning Gecko Brie - Grinning Gecko Cheese Company

180 degrees Champion Goat Cheese Award
Aroha Raw Milk Rich Plain - Aroha Organic Goat Cheese

NZ Chefs Association Champion Sheep Cheese Award
Monte Cristo - Whitestone Cheese

Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award
Galactic Gold - Over The Moon Dairy Company

Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award
Kapiti Awa Blue - Fonterra Brands NZ

Eurofins NZ Champion European Style Cheese Award
Old Gold - Crescent Dairy Goats

AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award
Mercer Mature Gouda - Mercer Cheese

Ministry for Primary Industries Champion New Cheese Award
Tenara - Kaikoura Cheese

Primary ITO Aspiring Cheesemaker Award
Craig Church - Barrys Bay Cheese

Fonterra Co-operative Group Champion Original Cheese Award
Sting - Crescent Dairy Goats

Crossroads Wines Champion Flavoured Cheese Award
Meyer Smoked Gouda - Meyer Gouda Cheese

Tetra Pak Champion Cheddar Cheese Award
Mainland Epicure Cheese - Fonterra Brands NZ

Epic Brewing Champion Export Cheese Award
Clevedon Valley Buffalo Mozzarella - Clevedon Valley Buffalo Company

New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award
Kapiti Kahurangi - Fonterra Brands NZ

Caspak Champion Cheese Packaging Award
Mainland Special Reserve Christmas Packaging - Fonterra Brands NZ

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheese & Cheesemaker
Wensleydale - John Morawski

 

Best cheeses in New Zealand 2014

Countdown Champion of Champions Award
Aged Gouda - Barrys Bay Traditional Cheese

Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese Award
Very Old Edam - Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker
Jeanne Van Kuyk - Aroha Organic Goat Cheese

The Langham Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award
Stracchino - Emilio's Cheese

NZSCA Champion Feta Cheese Award
Classic Feta - Zany Zeus

Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award
OMG Double Delight - Over The Moon Dairy Company

Tuatara Brewing Champion Goat Cheese Award
Aroha Raw Milk Rich Plain - Aroha Organic Goat Cheese

NZ Chefs Association Champion Sheep Cheese Award
Mercer Pecorino - Mercer Cheese

Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award
Galactic Gold - Over The Moon Dairy Company

Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award
Kapiti Kikorangi - Fonterra Brands NZ

Eurofins Champion European Style Cheese Award
Havarti - Talbot Forest Cheese

AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award
Gouda Vintage - Karikaas Natural Dairy Products

Ministry for Primary Industries Champion New Cheese Award
Vintage Cumin Gouda - Meyer Gouda Cheese

Fonterra Champion Original Cheese Award
Flat White - Crescent Dairy Goats

Stoneleigh Latitude Champion Flavoured Cheese Award
Scamoza Affumicate - Italian Cheeses

Kiwi Labels Champion Cheddar Cheese Award
Kapiti Tuteremoana Cheddar - Fonterra Brands NZ

Kiwibank Champion Export Award
Kapiti Kahurangi Creamy Blue - Fonterra Brands NZ

New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award
Kapiti Kikorangi - Fonterra Brands

Caspak Champion Cheese Packaging Award
Dairyworks Kids Range - Dairyworks

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheese Award
Formaggio di Latte Fresco - Aglio

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheesemaker Award
Bri DiMattina

Best Cheeses in New Zealand 2013

Two New Zealand Dutch cheese companies have scooped all three major accolades at the 2013 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards for the second consecutive year. 

Meyer Vintage Gouda, produced by Meyer Gouda Cheese, won the Crossroads Wines Champion of Champions Award for large cheesemakers. 

Very Old Edam, produced by Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese won the Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese Award for smaller producers while Jake Rosevear of Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese won the Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker Award. 

Fifty nine cheese companies entered 413 cheeses in for the 2013 competition and 28 expert assessors made up the judging panel. 

Hamilton-based Meyer Gouda Cheese, which focuses solely on producing world-class Gouda, celebrates its second year winning the prestigious Champion of Champions award with its "hugely flavoured" Meyer Vintage Gouda. 

Meyer Vintage Gouda also won the NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Champion Export Award. 

2013 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards category winners: 

Crossroads Wines Champion of Champions Award
Meyer Vintage Gouda - Meyer Gouda Cheese

Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese Award
Very Old Edam - Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker Award
Jake Rosevear - Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

The Langham Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award
Mozzarella - Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese Company

Countdown Champion Feta Cheese Award
Waimata Brined Feta - Waimata Cheese Company

Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award
Whitestone Brie Maxi - Whitestone Cheese

Elldex Packaging Champion Goat Cheese Award
Aroha Rich Plain - Aroha Organic Goat

NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Champion Sheep Cheese Award
Mercer Pecorino - Mercer Cheese

Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award
Kapiti Ramara - Fonterra Brands NZ

Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award
Kapiti Awa Blue - Fonterra Brands NZ

Eurofins Champion European Style Cheese Award
Farmhouse Mature - Crescent Dairy Goats

AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award
Mature Gouda - Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

Ministry for Primary Industries Champion New Cheese Award
Aroha Raw Milk Rich Plain - Aroha Organic Goat

Fonterra Champion Original Cheese Award
Kapiti Tuteremoana - Fonterra Brands NZ

Moa Beer Champion Flavoured Cheese Award
Labneh Lemon - Kaikoura Cheese

GEON Champion Cheddar Cheese Award
Lichfield Cheddar (aged less than 12 months) - Fonterra Lichfield

NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Champion Export Award
Meyer Vintage Gouda - Meyer Gouda Cheese

New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award
Kapiti Kikorangi - Fonterra Brands NZ

Caspak Champion Cheese Packaging Award
Mainland Natural Cheese Sticks - Fonterra Brands NZ

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheese Award
Tahatu by Alan Moore

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheesemaker Award
Alan Moore of Sunnyvale, Auckland

 

Best Cheeses in New Zealand 2012

The influence of Dutch cheesemaking is strong in New Zealand with Gouda and Edam varieties being judged as the country's best cheeses.

The 2012 Cuisine Champions of Cheese Awards received 430 entries from 36 different cheese companies throughout New Zealand with judges awarding gold, silver and bronze medals and then naming a champion for each of 19 categories.

Meyer Vintage Gouda, produced by Meyer Gouda Cheese, won the Yealands Estate Champion of Champions Award for large cheesemakers, and Very Old Edam from Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese took the Cuisine Champion Artisan Award for smaller producers. These two supreme awards are recognised equally as the most prestigious awards for New Zealand cheese excellence. 

The overall winners

Yealands Estate Champion of Champions Award
Meyer Vintage Gouda - Meyer Gouda Cheese

Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese
Very Old Edam - Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

NZ Cheese School Champion Cheesemaker
Jacob Rosevear - Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

2012 Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Category Winners:

The Langham Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award
Buffalo Mozzarella - Clevedon Valley Buffalo Company

Countdown Champion Feta Cheese Award
Brinza - Gibbston Valley Cheese

Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award
Overbrook Brie - Talbot Forest Cheese

Elldex Packaging Champion Goat Cheese Award
Cilantro Chèvre - Cilantro Cheese 

Monteith's Champion Sheep Cheese Award
Cumerino - Over The Moon Dairy Company

Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award
Galactic Gold - Over the Moon Dairy Company 

GEON Champion Cheddar Cheese Award
Fonterra Edendale Cheddar - Fonterra Edendale (aged 26- 36 months) 

QCONZ Champion European Style Cheese Award
Parmesan - Talbot Forest Cheese

 NZ Labs/Bureau Veritas Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award
Vintage Leyden - Karikaas Natural Dairy Products 

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Champion New Cheese Award
Buffalo Hard Cheese - Clevedon Valley Buffalo Company

Fonterra Champion Original Cheese Award
Darfield - Gruff Junction 

AsureQuality Champion Flavoured Cheese Award
Garlic & Chive Gouda - Meyer Gouda Cheese

Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award
Vintage Blue - Whitestone Cheese 

Goodman Fielder Champion Export Cheese Award
Kapiti Kahurangi - Fonterra Brands NZ 

New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award
Kapiti Kikorangi - Fonterra Brands NZ 

Caspak Champion Cheese Packaging Award
Whitestone Range - Whitestone Cheese 

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheese Award
Pohangina Blue by Adrian Walcroft 

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheesemaker Award
Adrian Walcroft of Ashhurst

 

Best Cheeses in New Zealand 2010

The best cheeses in New Zealand are determined every year in the Cuisine NZ Best New Zealand Cheese awards.

A creamy blue cheese is currently New Zealand's best cheese. Fonterra Brands' Mainland Special Reserve Creamy Blue cheese won the top award for blue cheese, as well as the overall Champion of Champions award at the 2010 New Zealand best cheese awards.

More than 430 cheeses were entered in the competition and were judged in 19 categories.

2010 Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards winners:

Yealands Estate Champion of Champions Award - the Best Cheese in New Zealand
Mainland Special Reserve Creamy Blue - Fonterra Brands

Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese
Maungatautari Goat Cheese - Pukeatua Peak Cheese

NZ Cheese School Champion Cheesemaker
Henk Lettink - Karikaas Natural Dairy Products

The Langham Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese
Ricotta - Crescent Dairy Goats

Countdown Foodtown Woolworths Champion Feta Cheese
Kaimai Feta Kaimai Cheese Company

Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese
Kapiti Kahikatea Camembert

SABATO Champion Goat Cheese
Selwyn Farmhouse Mature Goat Cheese Gruff Junction

NZSCA Champion Sheep Cheese
Curio Bay Pecorino - Blue River Dairy

NZSCA Champion Washed Rind Cheese
Galactic Gold - Over the Moon Dairy Company

Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese
Mainland Special Reserve Creamy Blue - Fonterra Brands NZ

GEON Champion Cheddar
Mild Cheddar - Fonterra Lichfield

QCONZ Champion European Style Cheese
Hohepa Tasty - Hohepa Homes

Bureau Veritas Champion Dutch Style Cheese
Vintage Gouda - Meyer Gouda Cheese

NZ Food Safety Authority Champion New Cheese
Maungatautari Goat Cheese - Pukeatua Peak Cheese

Fonterra Champion Original NZ Cheese
Kapiti Mt Herbert - Fonterra Brands NZ

AsureQuality Champion Flavoured Cheese
Hohepa Herb Quark Hohepa Homes

NZSCA Champion Export Cheese
Maasdam - Karikaas Natural Dairy Products

New World Champion Favourite Cheese
Bouton Dor Cow Feta Goodman Fielder

NZSCA Champion Cheese Packaging
Puhoi Valley Farmhouse Camembert - Goodman Fielder

Curds & Whey Champion Hobbyist Cheese
Ricotta by Emilio Festa

Katherine Mowbray Champion Hobbyist Cheesemaker
Emilio Festa of Christchurch