French Surrender Big Cheese Award to U.S. and British Products

France's reputation for being the world's leading producer of superior cheeses has been surrendered to products from the U.S. and Britain.
Photo by Waldemar Brandt/Unsplash

France’s reputation for being the world’s leading producer of superior cheeses has been surrendered to products from the U.S. and Britain.

Judges at the World Cheese Awards put only one French cheese, a soft cow’s milk cheese from Burgundy, in the top 15 at the event in Bergamo, Italy.

France had to be content with a lowly joint 8th position for Epoisses – a soft cow’s milk cheese with a crust and a runny centre from the Burgundy region.

A Rogue River blue from Oregon claimed the top prize from 3,804 entries across 42 countries in an outcome one French newspaper claimed was “sacrilege.”

Don't panic! We have confirmed that you can currently find the World's Best Cheese – Rogue Creamery Rogue River Blue -…

Posted by Oregon Cheese Guild on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, which organises the World Cheese Awards, had little sympathy for the losing French entries, saying good cheese can now be found right around the world.

“We try to celebrate cheeses from around the world, especially those made by smaller artisan cheesemakers. Good cheese is made around the world, not just by the French,” he told Sky News.

“I know lots of French people who work in cheese who know that fine cheeses are made in many different countries.”

Some of France’s most popular cheeses such as Camembert and Roquefort did not even get a mention.

Ouest-France, one of the country’s largest-circulation newspapers, expressed shock and shame at the results. “Sacrilege: only one of the 15 top-rated cheeses is French,” it lamented.

The mighty names of the French cheese scene – Roquefort, Camembert, Brie, Comté – were nowhere to be seen among the best rated fermented delicacies.

According to the judges, the best cheeses in the world for 2019 are;

1. Organic Blue Cheese Rogue River Blue (USA)

2. Nazionale del Parmigiano Reggiano Latteria Sociale Santo Stefano (Italy)

3. Torta del Casar DOP Virgen del Prado (Spain)

4. Pitchfork Cheddar (UK)

5. Gruyère AOP Premier Cru (Switzerland)

6. Quintano (Italy)

7. Gallus (Switzerland)

8. Gruyère AOP (Switzerland)

8. Epoisses AOP (France)

10. Mori No Cheese (Japan)

Farrand said new cheeses were being produced in the most unlikely countries. “This year, a Japanese cheese was entered for the first time and came 10th. From a country where dairy products are not part of the traditional diet, this is quite an achievement and we were happy to see it.”

Cheese has become more accepted in Japan, he said, because of the growing popularity of pizza topped with Mozzarella.

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