The World Cheese Awards 2008 has crowned the Sociedad Canaria de Formento, a co-operative of 50 partners from the Canary Islands, the world champion for its Queso Arico curado pimentón cheese.
Over 2,400 cheeses from across the globe were assessed by a panel of 12 judges chaired in Dublin by BBC Radio London food presenter Nigel Barden and including celebrity chefs Antony Worrall Thompson, Mark Hix, Darina Allen as well as cheese experts Louis Aird from Canada, Kobus Mulder from South Africa and Victoria Urresti Garcia from Spain.
Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan presented the award to the Sociedad Canaria de Formento at an awards ceremony held at SHOP, Ireland’s Retail Food and Drink Exhibition on the 29 September.
Co-operative Secretary, Antonio Gonzales Bravo, said: “We all feel like children at Christmas. It’s a dream come true for our co-operative – we simply can’t believe it.”
The Queso Arico curado pimentón cheese is made using the milk of Canary Island goats and animal rennet, which is then pressed and regularly brushed with paprika and gofia, a powdered cereal, before being matured for around six months.
The cheese was one of four finalists, including the Canadian soft cow’s milk cheese Cendré de Lune; a Von Muhlenen Le Gruyère AOC and a Fourme d’Ambert produced by Marin Père et Fils.
A Stilton from Colston Bassett was the UK’s highest placed entry, reaching the final 12 and just failing to make it into the top four.
Next year’s World Cheese Awards 2009, ironically, are set to take place in the Canary Islands.
By Emma White