Irish Cheese Awards 2019

The Irish Farmhouse Cheese Awards return for 2019.

The Irish Cheese Awards is now in its eighth year and is the only competition dedicated entirely to Irish cheese.  The awards is a biennial event and entries are open to all cheese producers on the 32 counties of the island of Ireland.

For 2019 two new categories have been introduced; Best new Cheesemaker to have entered the market since 2016 and Best Raw Milk Cheese. Just under half of the cheesemakers in operation in Ireland have entered the market in the last 10 years and we want to recognise the achievements of this new and vibrant contributing group of businesses! 

Categories for sheep’s and for young and aged goat’s cheese have also been re-introduced and the very successful retailer’s category is also back for 2019.

Dates for your Diary

Entries open 26th August

Entry deadline 26th September

Judging takes place in Bord Bia, Dublin 9th October

Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner in the Metropole Hotel, Cork, 7th November. View on Eventbrite

HOW TO ENTER

Entry Forms including more details on the categories and associated rules as well as the full terms and conditions will be available to download here on 26th August. We will announce the judges in advance, they have been selected to represent cheese specialists from Ireland and overseas, food specialists including chefs and members of the media.

See below for this year’s Entry Classes and for judging criteria and rules.

Entry Classes 2019

CREAMERY CHEDDAR AGED UP TO 6 MONTHS Block Cheddar. Retailer own brands ARE permitted in this class
CREAMERY CHEDDAR AGED 6 MONTHS PLUSBlock Cheddar. Retailer own brands ARE permitted in this class
RETAILERS CLASS: SOFT TO SEMI-SOFT CHEESES, ALL MILK TYPESAll types of softer textured cheeses in retailers own branded / private label packaging
RETAILERS CLASS: SEMI-HARD TO HARD CHEESES, ALL MILK TYPESAll types of firm textured cheeses in retailers own branded / private label packaging
FRESH / SOFT CHEESE, ALL MILK TYPESAny milk type permitted
GOAT’S MILK CHEESE, AGED UNDER 2 MTHSGoat’s milk cheese, any type aged under 2 months
GOATS MILK CHEESE, AGED OVER 2 MTHSGoat’s milk cheese, any type, aged 2 months plus
SHEEP’S MILK CHEESESheep’s Milk Cheeses – all cheese types
WHITE (BLOOMY) RINDED CHEESE, ALL MILK TYPESAny milk type permitted. Soft / semi-soft
WASHED RIND CHEESE (SEMI-SOFT) ALL MILK TYPESAny milk type permitted
BLUE CHEESE, ALL MILK TYPESPlease use this class for all blue cheese entered*
HARD  / SEMI‐HARD CHEESE, AGED UNDER 6 MTHS,
ALL MILK TYPES
Hard / semi-hard / pressed
HARD / SEMI-HARD CHEESE, AGED OVER 6 MTHS,
ALL MILK TYPES
Hard / semi-hard / pressed
FRESH / SOFT / SEMI-SOFT, FLAVOUR ADDED,
ALL MILK TYPES
 
HARD / SEMI-HARD, FLAVOUR ADDED CHEESE,
ALL MILK TYPES
 
SMOKED CHEESE, ALL MILK TYPESAll cheese types  
BEST NEW CHEESE IN LAST 24 MTHS, ALL MILKSCheese must be currently available on the market and must have only been available on the market after 1st October 2017
NEW FOR 2019 
RAW MILK CHEESE, ALL MILK TYPESAll cheese types
BEST NEW CHEESEMAKER, NEW ENTRANT
TO CHEESEMAKING SINCE 2016
All, milk types, all cheese types. The company must have only commenced production since 1st January 2016.  

Please read full rules of entry carefully, but some key points for review when selecting appropriate categories as follows:
Cheeses cannot be entered more than once in different categories with 3 exceptions which are Classes 17, 18 and 19.
Whilst some categories allow for any milk type, it is strongly advised that classes 6 and 7 are most appropriate for goat’s cheeses and class 8 for sheep’s milk cheese (blue cheeses however should be entered in class 11).
Any Retailer own branded / private label cheeses should be entered only in classes 1 – 4

Note that the organisers reserve the right to switch your cheese to the most appropriate category on judging day and that for category judging to proceed a minimum of 5 cheeses must have been entered.

Judging Process

Criteria for Marking:

  • flavour and aroma – 60 points
  • body and texture – 30 points
  • overall appearance – 10 points

 Criteria for Retailers and New Cheesemaker Categories:

  • flavour and aroma – 40 points
  • body and texture – 20 points
  • overall appearance of Cheese – 10 points
  • Packaging & Branding – 30 Points

 

JUDGE SELECTION

Judges have been selected and invited as representatives of various sectors within the food industry:

Retail, Foodservice, Chefs, Media, Overseas

The overall aim is to have a wide selection of views including those from a more consumer based perspective. It should be noted that all judges are involved in the final award of medals from a shortlist proposed by judging team.

 

JUDGING PROCESS

Judges will be assigned no more than 4 categories each for judging and will work in pairs or groups of 3 for some categories. They will be informed of assigned categories and pairings during the briefing session.

Judging groups will be chosen by the organisers in consultation with the chief judge to always include an experienced cheese professional.

Judges will receive scoring sheets for each category and guide sheets which provide details on marking criteria.

Judges will score cheeses as they taste based on the criteria provided and the scores will be calculated only when the entire category is judged.

 Judges will be briefed in advance that scores and the notes will be made available to entrants on request, therefore it is important to write a brief note on each cheese and to try and be as constructive as possible with comments.

The judges will choose a maximum of 5 shortlisted entrants for their categories.

If any difficulties arise in narrowing down the selection, the chief judge will be consulted.

The Judges will then as an entire group revisit the shortlisted cheeses from each category and select the medal winners.

FURTHER NOTES / RULES

An uneven number of judges has been chosen in order to avoid any tie situations.

If any unforeseen circumstance occurs on the day of judging where is not an uneven number, then via a random selection process (name from hat) – one judge’s vote will be excluded from final judging of each category.

Not all categories are guaranteed of a medal in order to ensure the ongoing validity of awarded medals.

For the category to be judged a minimum of 5 cheeses must have been entered

If the situation arises Where any judge is associated with a brand – e.g. in the example of retailer classes, they will be excluded from judging and voting for that category.

The judges and any organisers present undertake to keep all results confidential until their announcement at the awards ceremony

Entry

The entry fee is €30 to enter one cheese, and €25 per each additional cheese entered.

Paid Up Cais members qualify for a reduced price of €25 for one cheese and €20 for each additional cheese.

You will receive an online invoice after your entry has been submitted, which must be settled within 5 days to finalise and confirm your entry.

Cheeses must be delivered by 5pm, Tuesday 8th October to Bord Bia, Clanwilliam Court, Mount Street Lower, Dublin 2

Outer Boxes must be Clearly labelled: Irish Cheese Awards

Approximately one week prior to the deadline for delivering your cheese, you will receive an email with your entry codes(s). You Must affix a label displaying the notified code(s) to all cheeses submitted. The cheeses should not have any other identifiable branding (except Retailers class and new cheesemaker which will consider branding in the marks).

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