Captain Toby Murray at the World Cheese Awards

Cote-Hill-Blue-205Earlier this month, Toby Murray of Beechwood Fine Foods, the Farm Shop in Tring, Hertfordshire, enjoyed his fourth appearance as a judge at the World Cheese Awards in London.

This year Toby was given the honourable title of Team Captain, including Mark Poyzer (Tuxford and Tebbutt), Bjorn Neirhaus (Lidl) and Gail Sprake (Trustee of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust). The competition took place on the 14 November at Olympia alongside the BBC Good Food Show.

This year there were 60 tables of cheeses being judged, each table consisting of approximately 40 cheeses from all over the world. Each table nominates a Super Gold for progression through the various stages of the competition. After much deliberation, Team Toby put forward a lovely soft blue cheese, later confirmed as Cote Hill Blue from Lincolnshire.

250 experts from around the world worked in teams of four, identifying medal-winning cheeses throughout the morning, culminating in 62 Super Golds, which were then judged again by another jury after lunch and whittled down to just 16 cheeses. The final panel, representing the four corners of the globe, then pronounced the World Champion 2014 in front of a packed consumer and trade audience – the Bath Blue. The World Cheese Awards is the UK’s biggest and most cosmopolitan cheese festival, with almost 30,000 consumers tasting cheese after the international panel of experts completed their judging.

Of the awards ceremony, Toby said, “the overall standard was very high again this year. And from the wide range of cheeses we judged, including goats cheese, ewes milk cheese, feta, cheddars, and a lot more besides, we awarded a wonderfully full-flavoured creamy blue with a dark grey rind as the Super Gold from our table, which was later confirmed as Cote Hill Blue from Lincolnshire, a cheese we regularly stock at Beechwood. It was great to see so many British cheeses competing with the best in the world and with Bath Blue coming out as the winner.”

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