Australia’s cream of the crop dairy and cheese products have been announced at this year’s Australian Grand Dairy Awards, held in Melbourne on 31 January.

Victoria scooped the highest number of champion titles, taking out eight of the 18 categories, while Western Australia claimed four, Tasmania and Queensland were each awarded two and New South Wales and South Australia collected one champion title.

The highest accolades, Grand Champion Dairy and Grand Champion Cheese, were this year awarded to producers from Western Australia and Tasmania.

Western Australian producer, Mundella Foods, was crowned Grand Champion Dairy for their Greek Honey Yoghurt, and Tasmania’s Lion Dairy and Drinks was awarded the Grand Champion Cheese title for their King Island Roaring Forties Blue Cheese.

Led by Chief Judge, Russell Smith alongside a suite of cheesemongers and technical specialists including guest judge, US-based specialty cheese buyer, Mariah Christensen, the 12-strong judging panel critiqued over 400 products across 18 categories to determine the finest Australian dairy produce.

“Grand Champion Cheese, King Island Roaring Forties Blue, has the most beautiful network of blue and grey mould. The waxing of the cheese during the maturation results in very sweet, fruity flavours giving the cheese its distinct flavour,” chief judge Russell Smith says.

Grand Champion Cheese award-winner, and Lion Dairy and Drinks cheesemaker Ueil Berger, commented on the honour. “It’s such a nice feeling and I’m very proud to be able to accept this award on behalf of all the whole team who’ve been involved. It’s great recognition that we’re making some of the best dairy products in Australia.”

Mundella Foods’ Greek Honey Yoghurt was praised by the judges for its thick and creamy texture, balance of sweet, subtle natural honey flavour, and its naturally high protein content.

Fiona Loke, research and development technical director, Mundella Foods, believes the freshness and quality of the yoghurt is a result of daily fresh milk and a natural product composition, free from additives and preservatives.

“To be recognised as the Grand Champion dairy product is a testament to the hard working team we have at Mundella. We’re extremely proud of the Greek Honey Yoghurt and it’s great to see it be awarded today,” Loke says.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards, the Australian public was also encouraged to get behind their favourite products and vote online for the People’s Choice Award.

The Australian Grand Dairy Awards opened voting to the Australian public with a People’s Choice Award. Queensland producer, Maleny Dairies, was recognised as the people’s pick with their Farmer’s Choice Non Homogenised Full Cream Milk proving most popular.

“Congratulations to all finalists and champions in this year’s Australian Grand Dairy Awards,” Smith says. “We encourage Aussies to continue supporting local producers and to keep an eye out for the Australian Grand Dairy Awards medal in supermarkets to enjoy this year’s award-winning products.

“The Australian Grand Dairy Awards is all about celebrating our local producers for the exceptional standards they’re setting in our industry and for the world-class dairy and cheese products they’re making for all Aussies to enjoy.”

Click here for all the results.

[Image] Alexander Maasch

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