Entries from across the globe are expected to come flooding in for the cheese and dairy section of 2012 Great Yorkshire Show.
HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall sampling cheese at the 2011 Great Yorkshire Show, assisted by steward, Jayne Hickinbotham.
Last year saw cheeses produced as far away as Australia, Holland, Switzerland and Greece come before the eagle eyes of the judges, as well as a vast selection from across the UK.
Dates for this year’s event are Tuesday 10 – Thursday 12 July when more than 130,000 visitors are expected to come through the gates at what is England’s premier agricultural show.
Nigel Pulling, Chief Executive said: “Over the last decade the cheese and dairy section has grown both in prestige and in the quality of entries. We’re particularly proud to have Royal approval, in that we offer The Prince of Wales Award for Outstanding Quality to dairy products which are the pinnacles of perfection, and shining examples of excellence.”
The section celebrated its tenth birthday last year and now boasts around 800 entries, with classes for cheese, milk, ice cream, cream, yoghurt and butter. The deadline for entries is Tuesday 8 May.
Awards are as diverse as the Best Speciality Product, Best Dressed Dairy Product and Champion Retailer but the Supreme Dairy Championship is the ultimate accolade. New for this year is the Best Raw Milk Cheese Trophy, which will be selected from the section champions. The Consumers’ Choice classes are always popular, with opportunities to see what it takes to be an expert, whether you are aged 8 or 80.
“This is one area of the show where you can see multi nationals, including the supermarkets and large dairy companies, competing with small artisan producers and individual farmers and as it should be, it’s the quality which counts,” said Jayne Hickinbotham, the section manager.
Judges are “top drawer” too, and include Maurice Johnson, UK Marketing Manager of Interprofession du Gruyere, the esteemed John Pearson and Tom Walker who between them have eight decades of judging experience, Mrs Philippa Godden of Waitrose who is judging the Cheese Quality Award, plus Mrs Zelica Carr, Chief Executive of the Ice Cream Alliance.
This year’s event will have a more inclusive “hands on” feel, with a packed programme of talks, demonstrations and events over the three days. Wednesday will see a new feature: “The Cheese Event” for the public and commercial buyers alike. This will include a Question Time slot, and later in the day there will be another chance to grill the decision-makers in “Ask the Judges.”
New on Thursday is The Big Cheese Auction when whole cheeses will come under the hammer, with all proceeds going to charity. “It’s an opportunity to buy your cheese for the year as it’s all suitable for the freezer, and of course, many are likely to have won top prizes,” said Miss Hickinbotham.
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