The New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) has announced entries are open for its annual Champions of Cheese Awards.

The Specialist Cheesemakers Association has run the awards since 2003, and will host their 15th annual NZSCA Gala Cocktail Awards Evening in Auckland at Fale Pasifika on 15 March 2018. For the first time the awards are being organised by specialist food marketing communications company Marvellous Marketing.

New Zealand Speciality Cheesemakers Association chair, Miel Meyer says cheesemakers will notice some innovations with this year’s awards.

“To make it easier for cheesemakers we have moved entry online through the NZSCA website. We have introduced a new Farmhouse Cheese category, to recognise cheesemakers who produce milk and make their own cheese onsite. Finally, we have changed the format of the awards from a formal dinner to a gala cocktail event to allow cheesemakers and our award sponsors more opportunities to network and catch up.”

The NZSCA Board has decided to review judging the butter and yoghurt categories and therefore will not judge these in 2018 while they consider the future for these categories.

“We are delighted Master Judge Russell Smith of Australia will join us again for what will be his final year overseeing the Champions of Cheese Awards. Additionally, we have the services of NZSCA life member Ross McCullum and American cheese specialist and editor and owner of Culture magazine Lassa Skinner in senior judging roles,” he said.

Miel made special mention of the loyal family of sponsors who once again joined the NZSCA to ensure this celebration of New Zealand cheese occurs. Countdown will again be the lead sponsor of the NZSCA Gala Cocktail Awards Evening.



Entries open now at

Entries close – Friday 19 January 2018

Cheese received in Auckland – Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 February 2018

Judging – Saturday 24 February 2018

Awards Presentation and NZSCA Gala Cocktail Awards Evening – Thursday 15 March 2018


Countdown Champion of Champions Cheese Award (Commercial)

Puhoi Valley Champion of Champions Cheese Award (Artisan)

New World Cheese Lovers’ Choice Award (Favourite Cheese and Cheese Company)

Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker Award

Green Valley Dairies Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award

Kiwi Labels Champion Feta Cheese Award

CHR Hansen Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award

180 degrees Champion Goat Cheese Award

Sheep Milk NZ Champion Sheep Cheese Award

Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award

Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award

Eurofins NZ Champion European Style Cheese Award

AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award

Ministry for Primary Industries Champion New Cheese Award

Fonterra Co-operative Group Champion Original Cheese Award

Tetra Pak Champion Cheddar Cheese Award

Emerson’s Farmhouse Cheese Category

Foley Family Wines Champion Flavoured Cheese Award

Renco NZ Ltd Champion Export Cheese Award

AUT School of Hospitality and Tourism Aspiring Cheesemaker

Cas-Pak Products Ltd Champion Cheese Packaging Award

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheese & Cheesemaker

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