Ok so maybe not the Oscars, but the World Cheese Awards are a firm date in every cheese lover’s calendar and this year the event comes to Spain. The World Cheese Awards has been bringing together cheesemakers, retailers, buyers, consumers and food commentators worldwide for over three decades, in a celebration of tradition, innovation and excellence in cheese. It’s the biggest cheese-only event in the world, with no yoghurt, cream, butter or other dairy able to enter, championing the world’s best cheesemakers, from tiny artisans to global heavyweights. Judges work in teams of three to four, identifying any cheeses worthy of a Bronze, Silver or Gold award. They assess the look, feel, smell and taste of each entry, scoring aspects such as the appearance of the rind and paste, as well as the cheese’s aroma, body and texture, with the majority of points awarded for flavour and mouthfeel.
Mercadona offers not just one but two of the best cheeses in the world, according to the World Cheese Awards! Look out for ‘Mezcla Curado Entrepinares’ and ‘Oveja Viejo Entrepinares’. Our Advice is to slice the wedge of cheese as desired, and set it out on a plate to warm up to room temperature to get the best taste. This cheese goes very well with membrillo (a very sweet quince jelly, popular in Spain and usually paired with white cheeses). It also goes very well with fig jam (mermelada de higos).
Spain to host in 2021
The Guild of Fine Food announced that the World Cheese Awards will be held in Asturias this year, taking place in Oviedo on Wednesday 4 November. Forming part of the Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival 2020, run by the Instituto del Queso, the 33rd edition of the competition will headline a four day festival dedicated to cheese, staged at the city’s awe-inspiring Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos.
Uniting the global cheese community, from cheesemakers to cheese lovers and everyone in between, World Cheese Awards 2020 is set to be bigger and more international than ever before, following a record-breaking 3,804 entries from 42 different countries judged in Bergamo, Italy last year. Due to take place on the first day of the International Cheese Festival, running from Wednesday 4 November until Saturday 7 November, the World Cheese Awards judging will signal the start of one of this year’s most important gastronomic events.
The International Cheese Festival will present a packed programme of events for both consumer and trade visitors, including an exhibition, a cheese market, a scientific cheese congress, tours of the World Cheese Awards judging arena, experimental tasting sessions, an Asturian Agriculture Forum and even a gastro cheese comedy line-up.
John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the World Cheese Awards, commented: “It gives me great pleasure to announce Oviedo as the host city for WCA 2020, following an extremely impressive bid from the Principality of Asturias, the City Council of Oviedo and the Instituto del Queso. We received interest from potential host cities across the world, but the opportunity to bring WCA to Asturias was too good to miss, not least due to the region’s whole-hearted commitment to its food culture. From the peak of the mountains to the depths of the sea, this is one part of the world where you truly can eat the view. With up to 4,000 cheeses from over 40 different countries expected at WCA 2020, the competition will be bringing a global celebration of cheese to Oviedo, putting the city firmly on the map of top international food destinations. Thousands of food professionals, buyers, retailers, consumers and tourists will be making their way to the city for one of the biggest cheese events the world has ever seen, creating a lasting food and drink legacy for the region.”
Luisa Villegas, managing director of Instituto del Queso, organisers of the International Cheese Festival, added: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to have a date set in the world calendar of gastronomy and cheese. It will be a meeting point to speak about science, health and the food of the future. Indeed, the Festival wants to build a space where technology, traditional artisan cheesemakers and science-based novel biotechnological processes will align together to work towards new business models. Cheese has to set an example in innovation, and of course, the producers, the cheesemakers, and the agrifood industry will be the main protagonists of the Festival.”
The World Cheese Awards will take place on Wednesday 4 November, forming part of the International Cheese Festival, which will run from Wednesday 4 November until Saturday 7 November at the Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos in Oviedo, Spain.