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Spanish goat cheese Quesos y Besos crowned best in the world

A Spanish goat cheese made by a small family business in Andalusia has been voted the best in the world.

Quesos y Besos was named World Cheese Champion in Oviedo, Spain, earlier this month after the World Cheese Awards, held at Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos as part of the 2021 Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival.

Produced by a family business founded in 2017, Olavidia has brought Silvia Peláez and her team of just six people to international fame.

Aged with Penicillium Candidum and a layer of olive stone ash running down the middle, the soft goat cheese was championed in the final judging stage by Jason Hinds of Neal’s Yard Dairy in the UK, who said ‘this cheese charmed me and stole my heart.’

The cheese is available for around £9.50 for 250g in the UK – although most traders are sold out as foodies around the world try to get their hands on it.

Quesos y Besos was named World Cheese Champion in Oviedo, Spain, earlier this month after the World Cheese Awards, held at Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos as part of the 2021 Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival.

Quesos y Besos was named World Cheese Champion in Oviedo, Spain, earlier this month after the World Cheese Awards, held at Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos as part of the 2021 Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival.

He added: ‘This is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Its appearance is so original and it has not let me down. It’s smooth, seductive, soft, warm and comforting.’

In a close run final, second place was awarded to an Epoisses Berthaut Perrière, made by Fromagerie Berthaut in France and entered by Savencia Fromage & Dairy, while third place was taken by Eminence Grise – Tomme Chèvre Grise au Bleu, produced by Van der Heiden Cheese in the Netherlands. The Top 16 also featured cheeses from Austria, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the UK.

John Farrand, director of the Guild of Fine Food, organizers of the World Cheese Awards, told FEMAIL: “Since the World Cheese Awards was established more than three decades ago to showcase the work of small artisan cheesemakers, it gives me immense pleasure to see a small family-owned cheese making facility taking top honors again.

“It’s an incredible achievement to stand out in a field of more than 4,000 cheeses from all corners of the world, but Quesos y Besos’ Olavidia clearly had it all; delivers exceptional appearance, aroma, texture and flavor along with bags of originality.

The cheese is available for around £9.50 for 250g in the UK - although most traders are sold out as foodies around the world try to get their hands on it

The cheese is available for around £9.50 for 250g in the UK - although most traders are sold out as foodies around the world try to get their hands on it

The cheese is available for around £9.50 for 250g in the UK – although most traders are sold out as foodies around the world try to get their hands on it

“I would also like to thank our judges and our partners, the Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival, for helping us to re-organize the World Cheese Awards, empowering the global cheese community after a period of such challenges, uncertainty, resilience and innovation.”

Silvia Peláez, head cheese maker at Quesos y Besos, adds: “We’ve been making cheese for less than 5 years, so we never thought we could win the biggest cheese prize in the world so quickly. It was great to witness the judging in person and be present at the announcement, but it’s all still sinking in and will take a long time to process!

“Everything we do is inspired by our love for our family, including the name of the company itself, Quesos y Besos (Cheese and Kisses), so this is such a special moment for us. We’ve made it our mission to bring the essence of our family into all of our cheeses, so to receive such recognition from the World Cheese Awards judges is an incredible achievement and truly stunning.”

Produced by a family business founded in 2017, Olavidia has brought Silvia Peláez (pictured) and her team of just six people to international fame.

Produced by a family business founded in 2017, Olavidia has brought Silvia Peláez (pictured) and her team of just six people to international fame.

Produced by a family business founded in 2017, Olavidia has brought Silvia Peláez (pictured) and her team of just six people to international fame.

The 33rd edition of the World Cheese Awards was bigger and more international than ever before, with over 4,000 entries for the first time.

The competing cheeses represented 45 different countries, including recent additions such as India, Japan and Colombia, as well as established cheese-making countries such as France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

All entries were judged in one day, with 250 experts from 38 different countries evaluating their appearance, texture, smell and taste. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold awards were presented during the morning session, before the Super Golds were reassessed to find this year’s Top 16. The International Super Jury, which brought together the greats and good people of the global cheese community, then debated the best cheeses on the planet in front of a live audience before awarding this year’s World Cheese Champion.

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