World's Best Cheese for 2021 Has Been Selected!
Image by Quesos y Besos via their website.
This week, the 33rd World Cheese Awards is being held in Oviedo, Spain. Over 4,000 cheeses from 40 countries were entered into the competition to be judged by 250 seasoned cheese experts. Each year, World Cheese Award judges hand select the World's Best Cheese. Winning this prestigious award is no small feat.
According to The Guild of Fine Foods' website, judges work in teams of three and evaluate each cheese by "[looking] at the rind and the body of the cheese, its color, texture, consistency and, above all, its taste." Each group nominate one exceptional cheese for the "Super Gold" award. These selected cheeses are then judged for a second time by the "Super Jury" of cheese experts who determine which cheeses will move to the final round of judging. The Super Jury members then choose the World Champion cheese on live television. It was announced on November 3rd that Olavidia from artisan Spanish cheesemaker Quesos y Besos received 103 votes and therefore was crowned the World's Best Cheese for 2021!
Olavidia is hand-made from slowly-pasteurized goat's milk. Aged for 15-20 days, this soft-ripened goat cheese features a layer of ash and has an intense, somewhat nutty flavor and ultra creamy texture.
Quesos y Besos is a small company made up of a team of six led by Silvia Peláez and Paco Romero located in Jaén, Spain. They opened for business and 2017 and hand craft cheese from their own Malaga goat's milk. The goats graze freely on native vegetation such as broom, thyme, acorn, wild hay and olive leaves. The flavors of these native plants are present in the final cheeses, giving them unique and inimitable character. It is truly inspiring to see a small cheesemaker consisting of only six cheesemakers win such a prestigious title. Congratulations to Silvia, Paco, and the rest of the Quesos y Besos team!
Olavidia takes the torch from Rogue River Blue, the 2019 World's Best Cheese (the awards were not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Click here to see the rest of the 2021 WCA winners!