On a picture perfect spring day in June, the city of Lyon played host to a groundbreaking event: the first Annual Farm Cheese Awards. The event holds great significance for the cheese community, as it was the first international competition comprised entirely of raw-milk farmstead cheeses.
After months of consideration by event organizers Association Fromages des Terroirs, a Paris-based group that promotes raw-milk cheese, Eurexpo-Lyon, France’s largest exhibition center outside of Paris, hosted the event along with food service provider Salon Sirha Green. “We were very impressed by Sirha Green’s commitment to biodiversity and the environment, and we instantly formed a strong partnership,” said Véronique Richez-Lerouge, president of the association. Richez-Lerouge and her team are committed to promoting and preserving traditional, regional raw-milk French cheeses, a task that she says is “hard work even in France nowadays.”
Although Fromages des Terroirs typically focuses its efforts on French cheeses, they opted for an international competition. “[That] would be best given that the dynamics and challenges of farm cheesemaking are the same everywhere,” said Richez-Lerouge. “There are farmstead cheese makers doing great and interesting work on a global level, so why not recognize and reward them all? ”
An international jury of cheese professionals, chefs, journalists, and other food industry veterans were tasked with choosing between these many dedicated and passionate artisans. After hours of focused tasting and deliberation, 22 cheeses spanning seven categories were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals.
At the end of the day, a fun and informative time was had by all. New friendships were fostered as a sense of global camaraderie filled the air, punctuated by laughter and the sounds of clinking Champagne glasses. An international community of hard-working and dedicated cheesemakers and professionals, united by a love for all things cheese: real, handmade, traditional cheese.
As for now, the cheesemakers are back at work, and planning has already begun for next year’s awards, which Richez-Lerouge asserts will happen annually. “There is still the great task of creating increased visibility and awareness for these products,” she said. “I am confident that this event will grow, and the Association Fromages des Terroirs is honored to lead it.”
Without further adieu, here are all the winners by category:
Gold: La Cheverie Les Felges Chèvre Frais, France
Silver: Ferme de Chizeuil Le Chiz Cendré, France
Bronze: Ferme de Claria Petit Claria Frais, France
Gold: Ferme de Claria Petit Claria Affiné, France
Silver: Ferme de Chizeuil Le Chiz, France
Bronze: La Ferme de Chasse-Nuage Palet Cendré Chèvre, France
Gold: Ferme des 5 Freres Camembert (non AOP), France
Silver: Ferme des Colombiers Charolais AOP, France
Bronze: Quesos Elvira Garcia Luna Roja, Spain
Gold: Ferme de Saichy Munster AOP, France
Silver: Bobolink Dairy Amram, USA
Bronze: Karditsel Corneel, Belgium
Gold: La Grange de Haute Vallee Salers AOP, France
Silver: Queseria Etxelekua Etxelekua, Spain
Bronze: Balda Artola y Otros Beriain 12 Month, Spain
Gold: Caseificio Boselli Parmigiano Reggiano DOP – 72 month, Italy
Silver: Caseificio Cugusi Fiore Sardo DOP, Sardinia
Bronze: Kaasboerderij Heileuver Oude Heileuver, Netherlands
Gold: Ferme Les Perce-Neige Le Bleu d’Andrieux , France
Silver: La Chevre de Bancel Barbe Bleue, France
Bronze : La Bergerie d’Acremont Bleu de Scailton, Belgium
JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARD WINNER
Ferme du Saichy Tomme de Vache (Pressed Uncooked), France
Photos courtesy of Fromages des Terroirs.