The Virtual Cheese Awards in association with Food and Drink Wales, a pioneering online cheese award which celebrates the best of British cheese, has extended the entry deadline for its 2021 event to Monday 5th April 2021.
The response to the awards from British cheesemakers has been hugely positive with some classes already full and now closed. However, the team behind the innovative event wants to ensure everyone gets a chance to enter their cheese so have extended the deadline.
Sarah de Wit, Founder of the Virtual Cheese Awards and Cheese & Dairy consultant said: “We’ve seen some amazing cheeses being entered as the industry really gets behind the awards and celebrate the Best of British cheese. We’ve had to close some classes that filled up quickly such as the Best Artisan and Best Washed Rind cheese but we decided to extend the deadline on the remaining classes. We don’t want cheesemakers to miss out. Entry is simple as it’s all on our website.”
The 2021 Virtual Cheese Awards in association with Food and Drink Wales will take place for a second year on Friday 7th May 2021. Line-up details of the final will be announced soon. The closing date for entries is no Monday 5th April 2021.
The cheese awards celebrate the diversity and quality of British dairy as well as nurturing future talent to help promote a sustainable and thriving industry. It aims to create a unifying platform that supports all elements of the cheese industry– from cheesemakers and cheesemongers and everyone in between.
The Virtual Cheese Awards is a not-for-profit event created to support and celebrate British cheesemakers in a time of great need. All profits will be given to the Specialist Cheesemakers Association so they can continue to support British dairy producers.
The Virtual Cheese Awards in association with Food and 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 eight categories, which are;
● Best Cheddar Cheese
● Best Territorial Cheese
● Best Blue Cheese
● Best Enhanced Cheese
● Best Speciality Cheese
● Best Artisan Cheese
● Free From Cheese
● Recognising Excellence –
o Trophy for Sustainability in Cheese Production
o Most Innovative cheese packaging
o Cheese Hero – a person who has gone over and above to support the Cheese Industry or created an outstanding innovation.
o Young cheesemaker sponsored by Dairy UK
All the cheeses which will be expertly judged online with final winners judged and revealed in LIVE online on Friday 7th May 2021.
Price is £45 per entry.
Producers can enter online and details of where to send the cheese samples will be communicated.
Sponsors 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
● Rowcliffe – Best Speciality Cheese
● Wyke Farm – Trophy for Sustainability
● Dairy UK – Young Cheesemaker
● 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
● Cheesus App – Best Cheddar 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
● Peter’s Yard – 2021 Cracker partner
● 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
A variety of sponsorship packages are available for the awards, please contact;
● Kara Bowen – email@example.com / 0773 4948481
● Jeremy Bowen – firstname.lastname@example.org / 07967 515050
For more information on the Virtual Cheese Awards including how to enter, sponsor and a list of events log on to: www.virtualcheeseawards.com
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For more information or to request an interview with the Virtual Cheese Awards please contact:
● Vickie Rogerson at North PR Tel: 07951 602410
Notes to editors
The Virtual Cheese Awards 2020 were organised to help support and celebrate British cheesemakers who were struggling in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Founder, Sarah de Wit and Nigel Pooley, saw multiple challenges to the dairy industry as producers struggled to produce and sell their stock resulting in milk being poured down drains and cheese being given away for free. This focus on survival also impacted on innovation, as new cheese launches were postponed.
The 2020 event was a huge success with over 300 individual entries from across the British cheese industry and thousands logging on live to see the final categories judged by a panel of experienced independent cheese judges. The overall Best British Cheese winner was Renegade Monk from Feltham’s Farm, – a soft blue cow’s milk cheese which is made from organic pasteurised cows milk and rind-washed in ale.
The cheese-packed day included an Expert Panel discussing the British cheese industry and the challenges it is currently facing with Charlie Turnbull, Director and Patron of the Academy of Cheese, Mario Olianas, Yorkshire cheesemaker who produces Yorkshire Pecorino and Leeds Blue, and Jen Grimstone-Jones, co-founder of Pangbourne Cheese Shop.
There were interviews with a whole host of people from the cheese industry including, Coronation-Street-actor-turned-cheesemaker, Sean Wilson, Richard Clothier, MD of Wyke Farms and Catherine Mead OBE, Chair of the Specialist Cheese Makers Association.