Virtual Cheese Awards 2021


Introduction to the Awards

The Virtual Cheese Awards 2021 will be held on Friday 7th May 2021 and entries are now OPEN.

The awards are limited to a maximum of 400 entrants, this allows the judges to give each cheese detailed consideration and ensure that makers get the maximum benefit from the experience.

Watching their cheeses being judged gives makers really valuable feedback.

Once a class is full it will be closed; so it is important that you enter as soon as possible. 

The first 150 entries get the early bird rate of just £35.

2021 Award Categories

Best Cheddar Cheese 2021

Best Territorial Cheese 2021

Best Blue Cheese 2021

Best Enhanced Cheese 2021

Best Speciality Cheese 2021

Best Artisan Cheese 2021

Best Free From Cheeses 2021

Recognising Excellence Award 2021

Entering the Virtual Cheese Awards

There are a total of 42 different opportunities to win the coveted stamp-of-approval and, in all categories, there are three finalists – first, second and third. This gives you over 100 opportunities to have the superior quality of your cheese celebrated.

There are 8 different categories which you can enter.


Click on the relevant category on the form and you can then choose the relevant class; all of which are listed below. We have briefly outlined each awards category to help you choose the correct one for your cheese.

All cheeses must be from Great Britain or Ireland. Producers can only enter a maximum of 3 cheeses into each class, but you are free to enter as many classes as desired. There is a maximum number of entries for each class. Once it is full no more entries will be allowed; so, make sure you enter your cheese early.

The type of milk used is specified as part of the entry; except in the artisan cheese category classes which are milk specific.

The awards will be held live 7th May. Tune in to find out what the judges think about your cheese.

Virtual Cheese Awards 2021

Full Category List

Best of British & Irish Cheeses

The Best of British & Irish Cheeses is the overall winner for the year and will be chosen from the winners of the other 9 categories.


Details of the prize package awarded to this excellent cheese can be found here.

Best Cheddar Cheese

A celebration of the UK’s bestselling cheese variety and our biggest cheese export. There are 5 different classes in this category.

Best Mild Creamery Cheddar
Best Mature Creamery Cheddar
Best  Vintage Creamery Cheddar
Best Mature Traditional Cheddar
Best Vintage Traditional Cheddar

Best Territorial Cheese

This category celebrates the regional diversity of cheese across Great Britain and Ireland.

Best Cheshire Cheese

Best Lancashire Cheese (tasty, creamy, crumbly)

Best Wensleydale Cheese

Best Red Leicester

Best Double Gloucester

Best Irish Regional  Cheese

Best Blue Cheese

This category sings the praises of the blues and has 3 classes you can enter.


Best Stilton

Best Hard other Blue Cheese

Best Soft other Blue Cheese

Best Enhanced Cheese

Innovation in the cheese market is often driven by this category and is an increasingly popular choice. Enhanced cheese is any cheese that has an extra element added once the cheese has been developed. There are 5 classes to enter here.  


Best Cheese with Additives – Sweet

Best Cheese with Additives – Savoury

Best Waxed Cheese without Additives

Best Waxed Cheese with Additives

Best Smoked Cheese

Best Speciality Cheese

Cheeses that fulfil the needs of a specialist section of the market.

Best Organic Hard Cheese

Best Organic Soft Cheese

Best Fresh Cheese

Best Rind Washed Cheese

Best White Mould Cheese

Best Kosher Cheese

Best Artisan Cheese

Artisan cheese is defined as any cheese which is produced primarily by hand, in small batches, with particular attention paid to the tradition of the cheesemakers’ art and thus using as little mechanisation as possible.


There are 8 different classes to enter.


Best Cows' Milk Hard Cheese

Best Cows Milk Soft Cheese

Best Goats' Milk Hard Cheese 

Best Goats' Milk Soft Cheese

Best Ewe's Milk Hard Cheese

Best Ewe's Milk Soft Cheese

Best Hard Buffalo Milk Cheese 

Best Soft Buffalo Milk Cheese

Free From Cheese

These cheeses cater for people with alternative dietary requirements.


Best Dairy Free Hard Cheese

Best Dairy Free Soft Cheese

Best Vegan Cheese

Recognising Excellence Awards

This category is judged by a separate team who represent the opinions of the broader cheese community. 


The sustainability award recognises the most exciting innovations in sustainable cheese production. 

The Cheese Hero recognises a person who has gone over and above to support the cheese industry or created an outstanding innovation. 

Most Innovative Cheese Packaging

Best Accompaniment – Crackers

Best Accompaniment – Other

Trophy for Sustainability 

Cheese Hero

What do you win?

Winning any of the awards is a sure-fire way to accelerate business success.


Reaching buyers is easier when you have a badge of quality; giving you a USP and enhanced credibility. In addition to that the overall winner of the Best of British & Irish Cheeses wins the following package:

Best of British and Irish Cheeses trophy


£4,000 publicity package in Speciality Food Magazine; enabling you to reach over 8,000 of the most important buyers in the UK and Ireland

Inclusion on the Virtual Cheese Awards stand at Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2021 - this opportunity is available for the top 3 cheeses

Extensive PR & Social Media Campaign celebrating all the category winners


Opportunity to use the awards device on your packaging, encouraging sales


Free consultation with our social media consultant to help you maximise the potential of your brand!


“Winning at the VCA with both Beacon Blue and Kidderton Ash was a real boost for everyone involved in making our speciality farmhouse cheeses. We felt very proud to hear the judges’ comments as they tasted the cheese and know that they were worthy winners. Well done to the VCA for pioneering a new transparent way of judging cheese and masterminding an event which all cheesemakers were privileged to be a part of”

Gill Hall, Owner; Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses

Read full article here.


  1. All cheese must be from the UK or Ireland.

  2. Entry fees must be paid at the point of submission. We cannot invoice for this.

  3. A total of 400 cheese can be entered for the awards. Once this number is reached no additional cheese can be submitted.

  4. Each producer can enter a max of 3 cheeses per class but can enter as many classes as desired.

  5. Entry fees cannot be refunded.

  6. The organisers reserve the right to revise the final date of judging.

  7. The judges’ decision is final. No right to appeal.

  8. The number of entries per class is capped and once full the class will be closed.