A soft Spanish goat's cheese has done enough to seduce this year's judges at the World Cheese Awards, with Olavidia being crowned the best cheese in the world and beating more than 4000 entries from over 40 countries on five continents.
"I just wanted to go to bed with it," said British judge Jason Hinds, one of the 250 judges at the event, when describing the rich and creamy cheese during the ceremony live-streamed from Oviedo in northern Spain. “This cheese charmed me and stole my heart. This is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Its appearance is so original and it didn’t let me down. It’s unctuous, seductive, pillowy, warm and comforting.”
The small family-run Spanish cheesemaker, Quesos y Besos (Cheeses and Kisses), located in Jaen, Southern Spain, began making cheese just five years ago. Head cheesemaker Silvia Peláez was in awe of the win, saying: "Everything we do is inspired by our love for our family, including the name of the business itself, Quesos y Besos (Cheese and Kisses), so this is such a special moment for us. We’ve made it our mission to encapsulate the essence of our family in all of our cheeses."
Photo: Julián Rus García / Guild of Fine Food
The winning cheese is matured with Penicillium Candidum and has a distinctive layer of olive stone ash running through its middle, "delivering an exceptional appearance, aroma, texture and flavour, along with bags of originality," according to event organiser John Farrand.
It was a case of hard cheese for global cheese giants the French, who narrowly missed out in second place with a soft cheese from Fromagerie Berthaut with 98 points. It was one of two French cheeses making the top 16, while the Netherlands came in third, with 97 points for a cave-aged gouda. Entries from Japan, the UK, Hungary, Italy, Austria and Sweden also made the Super Gold status.
Last year's winner was Rogue River Blue, an organic blue cheese from Oregon in the US.
See the top 16 cheeses and dairies listed at the World Cheese Awards 2021 below:
World Cheese Awards 2021 Results
The Super Gold Winners
Quesos y Besos
Epoisses Berthaut Perrière
Savencia Fromage & Dairy
3. The Netherlands
Eminence Grise - Tomme Chèvre Grise au Bleu
Van der Heiden Kaas BV
Baracska semi-hard cheese
Csiz Sajtmuhely Kft
5. The Netherlands
Twentse Bunkerkaas Geit
Quesos y Besos
Trethowan's Dairy Ltd
8. The Netherlands
MAAZ Cheese B.V.
Gorgonzola Dolce DOP Caseificio Brusati
Vorarlberger Bergkäse über 10 Monate
Dorfsennerei Schlins-Röns und Umgebung eGen
Almnäs Bruk AB
Parmigiano Reggiano 30-39 mesi
Nazionale Parmigiano Reggiano Rosola di Zocca
Tomme de chèvre
14. The Netherlands
Pitchfork Vintage Cheddar
Trethowan’s Dairy Ltd
Cheese Professional Association, Japan