For the second year in a row Bega Cheese has taken out Champion in the Cheddar at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards, continuing its status as best cheddar in the country.
This year’s grand dairy awards were held last week, where Bega was announced as category winner for its Heritage Reserve Vintage Cheddar.
“I get back to raw materials, it says a lot about the milk quality,” Bega’s cheese quality supervisor Philip Tatzenko said.
“In the technical sense, which is the way I look at the world, when it comes to the imports 99 per cent of what ends up in the cheese comes from the milk, so quality milk sets you up in a good place.”
Celebrating its 20th year, the Australian Grand Dairy Awards are the most prestigious dairy awards in the country.
Mr Tatzenko said an entrant has to have won gold meals at other shows in order to be invited into the awards.
As it is the preeminent competition, he said it meant Bega’s cheddar was the best in the country.
Bega Cheese won Champion in the Cheddar for its Heritage Reserve Vintage Cheddar at last year’s event as well.
“I don’t wander around expecting to win one, let alone two,” Mr Tatzenko laughed.
“It’s a lot of the guys that don’t get the recognition that make it work well.
“To me it’s just evidence that we’ve got a really good team.”
The award provided recognition for the whole of the Bega Valley, he said.
“It does show, and it’s not just us there’s other reasons why, the Bega Valley produces some spectacular food,” he said.
“We’re not part of the foodie trail yet, but we do have some really good products.
“Some of the advantages are our isolation. You basically have a cleaner environment.”
He said the heritage reserve had a lot in common with the other cheeses produced by Bega.
“It’s not really a different cheese, it’s just an extension of maturation time, so it’s not really a different recipe from Bega Tasty and Strong and Bitey,” he said.
“It’s matured out to two years of age.
“It’s a bit like a wine, as it ages and matures it develops more complexity of flavour – you get more significant flavour levels, but the base is still the same recipe.”
Cheddar originates from a town in the south west of England that its name came from, with Mr Tatzenko saying Australia was part of the “new world” of cheddar.