Norway – World’s Best Cheese-maker

Norway - World’s Best Cheese-maker

The Norwegian cheese Fanaost from the producer Ostegården in Bergen was named the world’s best cheese during the World Cheese Awards in Bergen last November.

Over 3,400 cheeses were lined up in Bergen’s iconic Grieg Hall, a 15% increase on last
year’s record. A truly global cheese event, the World Cheese Awards has been bringing together cheesemakers, retailers, buyers, consumers and food commentators worldwide for over three decades.

Norway - World’s Best Cheese-maker
Over 3,400 cheeses were lined up in Bergen’s iconic Grieg Hall

The planet’s biggest cheese-only event judged entries from 41 different countries from six continents. The judging team represented more countries than in any previous edition of the competition, as cheese makers, cheese-mongers, buyers, chefs, retailers and writers from 30 countries came together to hand out the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards.

Related: What is Norwegian Brown Cheese?

Norway - World’s Best Cheese-maker
Jørn Hafslund, Ostegården Fana, winner of World Class Award 2018

A truly international celebration
This truly international celebration of all things cheese was set against the backdrop of Norway’s finest food and drink event, Bergen’s brand-new festival, Matnasjonen Norge (Food Nation Norway), nestled between the North Sea and the Seven Mountains that frame the city.

Matnasjonen Norge
Matnasjonen Norge is a brand-new consumer and trade event, which took place on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 November at the Grieg Hall in Bergen. Featuring a food festival, conference sessions, presentations and tasting tours, the event gave the country’s producers and chefs a platform to showcase their food and drink and shine a spotlight on the quiet culinary revolution that has taken place in Norway over recent years.

Norway - World’s Best Cheese-maker
Fanaost (Fana Cheese)

Related: Scandinavian Cheese

Norway is the World’s Finest Cheese-maker
Among the challengers were a soft goat’s cheese from Kenya, made with banana leaf ash, an Australian feta made with river mint, a mixed milk cheese from Italy, made using donkey, cow, sheep and goat milk, a hard cow’s milk cheese from the UK, containing elderflower and a Belgian semi soft cheese, with a layer of ground coffee.

The winner of 2018, Fanaost, is according to the manufacturer a mild, round and semi-solid cheese that reminds Gouda, made from pasteurized cow milk. Genuine brown goat cheese from Stordalen Gardsbruk in Tinn, Norway shared the silver medal with a French cheese. However, It is not the first time Norwegian cheeses make it to the top in the competition.

Related: Norwegian Food Traditions – A Living Museum in Oslo

Norway - World’s Best Cheese-maker
Judging underway at the 2018 World Cheese Awards in Bergen, Norway

World Cheese Awards
A firm date in every cheese lover’s calendar, the World Cheese Awards has been bringing together cheesemakers, retailers, buyers, consumers and food commentators worldwide for three decades, in a celebration of tradition, innovation and excellence in cheese. It’s the biggest cheese-only event in the world, with no yoghurt, cream, butter or other dairy able to enter, championing the world’s best cheesemakers, from tiny artisans to global heavyweights.

Judges work in teams of three to four, identifying any cheeses worthy of a Bronze, Silver or Gold award. They look at the rind and the body of the cheese, its color, texture, consistency and, above all, its taste. Each team then nominates one exceptional cheese as the Super Gold from their table.

Norway - World’s Best Cheese-maker
Winner Jørn Hafslund in action at Ostegården Fana

These 78 cheeses are the best in the world and are judged a second time by the Super Jury of 16 internationally recognized experts, who each select a cheese to champion in the final round of judging. The Super Jury, representing all four corners of the globe, then debates the final 16 in front of a live consumer and trade audience, before choosing the World Champion Cheese live on WCA TV.

World Cheese Award 2019
This year, the World Cheese Awards will visit Italy for the first time, taking place in Bergamo on Friday 18 October 2019, as part of the city’s annual FORME cheese festival.

Norway is the World’s Finest Cheese-maker, written by Tor Kjolberg