Bath Blue crowned World Champion Cheese 2014

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Bath Blue has won the World Cheese Awards
Bath Blue has won the World Cheese Awards

Related tags Cheese

A classic blue-veined cheese made by a West Country producer has scooped the top honour at the World Cheese Awards, which took place in London earlier this week. 

The Bath Blue, from the Bath Soft Cheese Co, triumphed over more than 2,500 cheeses from 33 different countries to be awarded World Champion Cheese 2014 by a panel of experts.

Joint second place was given to Somerset-based Barber’s Farmhouse Cheesemakers for its Barber’s Sweeter farmhouse cheddar, and Dinarski Sir, a mixed cow’s and goat’s milk cheese made by Croatian producer Sirana Gligora.

Bath Blue was the last cheese to be tasted by the judges, who were from countries as far afield as Australia, the US, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand and Canada.

One judge, Louis Aird from Canada, described it as "like a river of cream over rocks – a perfectly balanced blue cheese with long, long lingering flavours".

Farm shop

Based at Park Farm in Kelston, the Bath Soft Cheese Co sells its cheese from a small farm shop and via the​ website.

It is also available from London’s Borough Market, and a number of farmers’ markets around Bath and Somerset.

Graham Padfield, managing director of the Bath Soft Cheese Co, said he "can’t quite believe" that his company were now makers of the World Champion Cheese.

He said: "This is truly fantastic news – it’s a huge privilege to be the winner. It gives us great confidence for the future as we have just invested in a new dairy building and we were taking a leap of faith, but this award confirms that we are getting our cheese right and that is a wonderful endorsement.

Padfield added: "Our cheese is made without any mechanisation, the milk comes from our herd of 160 organic cows, the curds are milled by hand and, at each stage, this cheese is made by hand. 

John Farrand, MD of the Guild of Fine Food – organiser of the World Cheese Awards – said: "The final judging was inevitably extremely tight. You are, after all, comparing the top 16 cheeses in the world and so the margins were tiny. 

"The Bath Blue was the last cheese the super jury tasted and it stole the show by only two points. I shouldn’t say it, but it’s great to have a British winner."

London return

Now in its 26th year, the World Cheese Awards were held as part of the BBC Good Food Show at London Olympia on 14 November.

The show returned to London in 2014 after a three-year run at Birmingham’s NEC.

This year’s awards drew entries from 33 countries including New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

The final judging panel of global experts included Cathy Strange of Whole Foods Market in the US, Suzy O’Regan of Woolworths Foods in South Africa, Ros Windsor of London’s Paxton & Whitfield and Kris Lloyd of Australian artisan cheesemaker Woodside Cheese Wrights.

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