Over 5,000 submissions were received from 27 countries at the 122-year-old event, the International Cheese and Dairy Awards, held in Cheshire, England. This year’s Supreme Champion went to The Bath Soft Cheese Company.
The standard of entries received just gets better and better, which is evidence of a healthy and vibrant global cheese and dairy industry, brimming with confidence and innovation, according to Chris Chisnall, chairman of the International Cheese and Dairy Awards. This year, international entries at the awards doubled with cheese being sent from as far away as Australia, the US and Canada. This year’s awards saw its first entry from Japan.
The Bath Soft Cheese Company won Nantwich Supreme Champion for its Wyfe of Bath cheese, a creamy, semi-hard cheese with nutty notes and hints of caramel. “To win Supreme Champion at the International Cheese Awards is an achievement that every cheese-maker dreams of, and for a small rural business like ours, it’s incredible,” said Hugh Padfield, managing director at The Bath Soft Cheese Company. “We could not hope for better recognition for the hard work put in, from milking the cows to making the cheese,” he said.
Fourth generation farming and cheese-making family, The Bath Soft Cheese Company owners, the Padfields, have been in operation since the 1900s. All of their cheese is made by hand using organic milk from their own herd, which grazes on pastureland surrounding the farm.
Nick Rose, sales and marketing manager with the company, said open grazing contributes to milk quality. “They are getting the best that nature can give them from the grass, clover and nutrients, which all help to create super tasty, rich, creamy milk,” he said. “Customers often talk about the richness and creamy flavour of the cheeses, and the cows’ diet plays an important role here.” Other contributing factors include strong starter cultures that help to create flavor and texture, as well as the micro flora, temperature and humidity of the maturing rooms.
Just a short distance from the world heritage city of Bath sits the family dairy. Visitors are invited to tour the cheese-making facility and the milking parlor. They may also visit the Wyfe Room where thousands of cheeses slowly mature.