Author Topic: Royal Easter show Sydney cheese competition  (Read 822 times)

Offline margaretsmall

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Royal Easter show Sydney cheese competition
« on: February 18, 2013, 05:22:21 PM »
Todays Sydney Morning Herald carried a report of the judging of the cheese competition at the Sydney Royal Easter show - this is the largest agricultural show in australia. Great outrage because the supermarket Aldi seems to have scooped the pool with its own brand cheeses. I had two thoughts -
First, obviously, Aldi isn't making the cheese itself. I would have thought that a condition of entry is that the cheese is made in Australia(but I could be wrong here) so it would be interesting to know who actually made the cheeses.
Second, the judging would have been a blind tasting, so the judges scored the Aldi cheeses higher than the other entries, including the various artisan cheeses entered. I wonder what this says about the quality of the other entries (and indeed about Aldi's cheeses)?
Margaret


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Offline BobE102330

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Re: Royal Easter show Sydney cheese competition
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 10:30:02 PM »
Or does it say the judges were looking for something bland and generic like they are used to buying at the grocery store?  Were the judges anyone with knowledge of artisan cheese?

Offline margaretsmall

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Re: Royal Easter show Sydney cheese competition
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 11:39:01 PM »
I thought I should look a bit further. Seems that while Aldi performed well, lots of other cheesemakers were in there too. The chief judge was (according to the web):

Russell Smith
Cheese Consultant and Educator
Deputy Chief Judge, Australian Grand Dairy Awards


Russell Smith provides cheese sensory training and cheese education for retailers, consumers, chef and restaurateurs, and the list goes on.

Through his role as owner/operator of Mart Delicatessen in Canberra for over 8 years, Russell’s experience of cheese and dairy products offered the local community greater depth of knowledge in Australian cheese appreciation.

Russell judges for the Royal Agricultural Societies and the Australian Specialist Cheese-makers’ Association Awards. He is the chief judge of the Dairy Produce Show for the RNA in Brisbane and is the Chairman of Judges for the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Shows.


So I guess he knows a thing or three about cheese.

The most successful exhibitor in the Sheep, Goat and Buffalo Milk Products category was an artisan producer, Holy Goat of Castlemaine. The champion cheese in this category was a goat gouda from Jindi, Victoria (who, as you would have read in another thread, had soft cheeses withdrawn recently because of listeria contamination. They are a  supplier to various outlets including Coles).

The champion cheese overall was Tarwin Blue from Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese from Victoria - they seem to be a small producer selling at farmers markets and the like.  A number of other small dairies were also listed as gold and silver medal winners.

So not quite the supermarket whitewash that the newspaper report suggested. I'd still like to know who made the Aldi cheeses though. If we had an Aldi in town I'd go and have a squizz at the labels.
Margaret

Offline Schnecken Slayer

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Re: Royal Easter show Sydney cheese competition
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 11:56:06 PM »
We have an Aldi or two nearby, although I don't frequent them.
Do you know which of the cheese was the prize one? If so I will go and have a perusal.

Bill
-Bill
One day I will add something here...

Offline margaretsmall

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Re: Royal Easter show Sydney cheese competition
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 03:33:20 PM »
Maddening. Yesterday I found a complete list of results, today I can't turn it up anywhere. However, Aldi was most successful exhibitor in the butter class, with the champion butter. Bega was most successful in the cheese section. It's a commercial outfit, employing 500 people, owned as a cooperative by 100 dairy farmers and producing 70000 tons mostly cheddar yearly.  Not artisan. Lots more media reporting, with a report that the RAS is considering having separate classes for producers and retailers. Seems odd to me that you can enter a product that you didn't make, after all what did Aldi do other than order the cheese from whoever made it? Coles was also an entrant.
Margaret


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Offline BobE102330

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Re: Royal Easter show Sydney cheese competition
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2013, 05:45:55 AM »
If the judging criteria include mass market appeal then artisans will lose, and that's a good thing. Ever watch Bobby Flay's "Throwdown"?  When the judging criteria include "authenticity" he almost always loses, even when the judges seem to like his flavors better and find them more interesting.  I think that may be what happened there. The "great unwashed masses" (tongue firmly in cheek) want McCheese and don't appreciate the subtleties of artisan cheeses.

http://www.myras.com.au/res/results/FFResults.aspx?Type=1