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Virtual Cheese Awards 2021 Announce Cheese-studded lineup

We are thrilled to announce the official line-up for our LIVE final on 7th May 2021.

The Virtual Cheese Awards in assocation with Food and Drink Wales are the world’s first cheese awards to be judged LIVE online. All the action will and it will take place on Friday 7th May 2021 from 11am-4pm.

Some of the event will be streamed live for FREE on the Virtual Cheese Award’s Facebook and YouTube channels (main stage). However, there is additional content on a HopIn site which will include the majority of the cheese judging.

Tickets for this are available to buy for a charity donation of £5, £10, £15 or £20 with all proceeds donated to the Specialist Cheesemakers Association.



The programme is packed with cheese-related interviews, panels and tastings aimed at demystifying and celebrating British cheese and its producers. Profits from the awards will be donated to the Specialist Cheesemakers Association to fund its bursary fund to financially support specialist British cheesemakers.

The stars of the event are our expert cheese judges who will be tasting, sniffing, inspecting and scoring a whole range of British cheese across seven categories including Best British Cheddar, Best British Blue and Best British Artisan Soft cheese.

The day will culminate with a nail-biting final judging of the final top-scoring seven cheeses at 3pm and the crowning of Britain’s Best Cheese at 3.30pm.

The judges include Druv Baker, co-founder of Tempus Foods and Masterchef winner, Tracey Colley founding director of Academy of Cheese, Sam Wilkin, head cheesemonger at the Cheese Bar Group, Perry Wakeman, head of cheese at Rennet & Rind, Emma Young The Cheese Explorer, Holly Shackleton, editor of Speciality Food magazine and cheese buyers from Selfridges and M&S.

The event is being hosted by food and drink broadcaster and all-round local food champion, Nigel Barden who will be chatting to people from all areas of the cheese industry including, Richard Clothier, MD of Wyke Farms, Greg Parsons, owner of Sharpham Cheese and Mark Pitts-Tucker, head cheese grader at Davidstow.

There will also be a discussion looking back at the Year that Challenged British Cheese with Andy Swinscoe, The Courtyard Dairy, Steven and George Fletcher from Berkswell cheese and Philippa Christer from Specialty & Fine Food Fair.

Gill Hall, owner and cheesemaker at Butler’s Farmhouse Cheeses will be sharing her cheese and cracker tips alongside Clare Styles from Peter’s Yard crackers.

Owen Davies, MD at Ty Caws will be celebrating his favourite Welsh cheeses with Nigel Barden and there will be a Savour the Flavour British Cheese and drinks pairing curated by George Beach, Mudwalls Food, George Lang, The Cheese Merchant, Sophie Buxton, Cheshire Cheese Company and James Richards, Vin Neuf.

Sarah de Wit, Founder of the Virtual Cheese Awards and Cheese & Dairy consultant said: “We’re really proud to be running the Virtual Cheese Awards for a second year and are able to celebrate and reward the most innovative and exciting cheeses being made in Britain today. It’s been a tough year for the whole industry, but the resilience, creativity and passion of cheesemakers has really shone through. We can’t wait to see who wins this year’s Best British Cheese!”

Live Event Line Up: Friday 7th May 2021

11:00 Welcome and Introduction by host Nigel Barden

11:05 Best Cheddar Cheese sponsored by Cheezus App (main stage)

Judged by Chris Dawson M&S and Terry Hudson

11:30 -11:50 The Year that Challenged British Cheese panel

Andy Swinscoe, Courtyard Dairy, Philippa Christer Speciality & Fine Food Fair and Steven and George Fletcher from Berkswell cheese

11;50 Interview with Greg Parsons from Sharpham cheese

11;55 Interview with Richard Clothier, MD of Wyke Farms talking about sustainability

12:00 Best Territorial Cheese sponsored by Invest NI

Judged by Tanny Gill, Clarks Spciality Food and David Evans

12:30 Best Blue Cheese sponsored by Harvey & Brockless

Judged by Nicky Philp, Harvey & Brockless and Kelly Dowson, Food Innovation Solutions

12:30 Best of Welsh Cheese tasting with Owen Davies from Ty Caws (main stage)

12:40 Savour the Flavour - British cheese and drinks tasting (main stage)

George Beach, Mudwalls Food, George Lang, The Cheese Merchant, Sophie Buxton, Cheshire Cheese Company and James Richards, Vin Neuf

12:55 The joy of British cheddar interview with Mark Pitts-Tucker, head cheese grader at Davidstow (main stage)

13:00 Best Enhanced Cheese sponsored by Co-Op Mid Counties

Judged by Druv Baker, Tempus Food and Holly Shackleton, Speciality Food magazine

13:30 Best Speciality Cheese sponsored by Rowcliffe

Judged by Tracey Colley, Academy of Cheese and Sam Wilkin, The Cheese Bar Group

14:00 Crackers & Cheese tasting (main stage)

Gill Hall, Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses and Clare Styles, Peter’s Yard

14:10 How cheese went online (main stage)

Simon Spurrell, Cheshire Cheese Company and Marcus Fergusson, Felthams Farm

14:25 Interview with Brian Turner, celebrity chef (main stage)

14:00 Best Artisan Soft Cheese sponsored by Speciality & Fine Food Fair

Judged by Adrian Boswell, Selfridges and Emma Young, The Cheese Explorer

14:30 Best Artisan Hard Cheese

Judged by Perry Wakeman, Rennet & Rind and Chris Dawson, M&S

15:00 Best British Cheese Final (main stage)

Judged by Terry Hudson and Adrian Boswell, Selfridges

15:30 Best British Cheese Winner announced (main stage)

This will also include the announcement of the winners of;

· Cheese Hero sponsored by Saputo for Davidstow

· Young Cheesemaker sponsored by Dairy UK

· Trophy for Sustainabilty sponsored by Wyke Farms

· Artisan Milk from own herd sponsored by Alpma

· Best Welsh Cheese sponsored by Food & Drink Wales

· Best English Cheese sponsored by The Cheeseman

The Virtual Cheese Awards in association with Food & Drink Wales prize includes:

● Free editorial features and digital coverage in Speciality Food magazine and Great British Food magazine worth £4,000

● Opportunity to have the winning cheese showcased at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair by the VCA team worth approximately £5,000

● Two x Level 1 Academy of Cheese courses and a year’s subscription worth over £300

● A surprise prize from Selfridges

● A PR consultation from cheese PR specialist, North PR worth £500.

There will be one overall winner of Best of British cheese which will be chosen from the winners of the seven categories, which are;

● Best Cheddar Cheese

● Best Territorial Cheese

● Best Blue Cheese

● Best Enhanced Cheese

● Best Speciality Cheese

● Best Artisan Hard Cheese

● Best Artisan Soft Cheese

● Artisan Milk from own herd sponsored by Alpma

● Best Welsh Cheese sponsored by Food & Drink Wales

● Best English Cheese sponsored by The Cheeseman

Recognising Excellence -

o Trophy for Sustainability sponsored by Wyke Farms

o Young Cheesemaker of the year sponsored by Dairy UK

o Cheese Hero – a person who has gone over and above to support the Cheese Industry or created an outstanding innovation.

Sponsors, partners and friends of the Virtual Cheese Award 2021 are:

● Headline sponsor; Food and Drink Wales

● Speciality Food Magazine - Headline media partner

● Great British Food Magazine – Headline media partner

● Speciality Fine Food Fair – Headline Event Partner and Best Artisan Cheese

● ALPMA GB Ltd – Artisan Farm Milk award

● Wyke Farm - Trophy for Sustainability

● Dairy UK – Young Cheesemaker of the year

● Cheshire Cheese Company – VIP event sponsors

● Mudwalls Farm – Event sponsors

● Saputo for Davidstow cheese

● Peter’s Yard – 2021 Cracker partner

● Harvey & Brockless - Best Blue cheese

● The Cheese Man – Best English Cheese

● Sycamore Process Engineering – Best Mature Traditional Cheese

● Sharpham Cheese – Event Facilitation Partner

● Butler’s Cheese - Official Apron Sponsor

● Joseph Heler – Red Leicester class

● Invest Northern Ireland – Best Territorial cheese

● Cheezus App – Best Cheddar Cheese

● Waxwraps – Judges packs

● Mid Counties Co-op – Best Enhanced Cheese

● Ablebox – Best Vintage Cheddar

● Christeyns – Best Cheshire Cheese

● Orchard Valley Dairy – Best Waxed Cheese and Best Organic Soft Cheese

● The Cheese Merchant – Best White Mould Cheese

Additional supporters

● Academy of Cheese – Friend of the VCA and prize partner

● Specialist Cheesemakers Association – Charity partner

● Good Sense Research – Judging Officiation partner

● Selfridges – Friend of the VCA and prize partner

● Richard Newell – Judging partner

For more information on the Virtual Cheese Awards log on to:

Social pages:

· Facebook - Virtual Cheese Awards

· YouTube – Virtual Cheese Awards

· Instagram - @Virtualcheeseawards

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