World’s Best Jersey Cheese judged in South Africa

The World Jersey Cheese Awards was established in 2008 by the World Jersey Cattle Bureau and was the first awards scheme where all the products came from a single breed of cattle, the Jersey cow. According to James Godfrey, Secretary of the World Jersey Cattle Bureau, the awards concept is about showcasing the quality and diversity of products made from Jersey milk and to reinforce in the minds of consumers that the name ‘Jersey’ is synonymous with quality.

The judging of the 4th World Jersey Cheese Awards took place on Friday, 12 September 2014 in Stellenbosch. It is the first time that this competition was hosted in South Africa.

A competition of this nature, where perishable products are transported and handled under specific temperature-controlled conditions and have to comply with strict international and South African regulations, requires the expertise of a very high standard. Agri-Expo, presenters of the annual and world-renowned South African Dairy Championships, ensured adherence to the high standards required for a competition of this stature.

Cheesemakers from around the world were invited to enter their cheese, which had to be made from 100% Jersey milk. 66 Cheese products from the Netherlands, Denmark, South Africa, USA, Switzerland, Italy, the United Kingdom and France were entered and competed in eight (8) different classes. The classes were fresh/cream cheese (plain), mould-ripened soft or unpressed cheese (plain), soft or unpressed milk cheese ripened (plain), blue vein cheese, any variety (uncut), hard cheese, semi-hard cheese, rind washed cheese and flavoured cheese (sweet & savoury).

World’s Best Jersey Cheese 2014

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The gold medal winners in each class competed for the prestigious title of “World’s Best Jersey Cheese”. An additional category was judged to determine the “Best use of the Jersey Brand”. Winning an award in this competition, especially a gold medal, has a direct impact on cheese producers in terms of marketing opportunities and increased sales.

The composition of the judging panel for the category “World’s Best Jersey Cheese” included cheesemakers, chefs and sensory and technical experts. The chief judge was South African Kobus Mulder, an internationally renowned cheese judge.

The other judges were James Godfrey from the World Jersey Cattle Bureau, Leonard Majampa, Cheese Maker and Factory Manager of the Dairy Department at Rhodes Food Group, Bruce Rowbotham, Head Cheese Maker at Fairview Cheese, Mark Pepper, Operations Manager at Fair Cape Dairies, Alan Fourie, Senior Applications Specialist at DuPont Nutrition & Health, Claire Goosen, Cheese Culture Specialist and Sales Manager at Lake Foods, Graham Sutherland, Speciality Cheese Production Manager at Simonsberg Cheese and Tanja Kruger, Head Chef at Majeka House’s Makaron Restaurant.

The judges of the category “Best use of the Jersey Brand” include Kobus Mulder, James Godfrey, Gielie de Kock from Jersey SA, Johan Ehlers from Agri-Expo and Elma Brand from Agri Mega Group.