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11th Hungarian Cheese Awards

[News from the members] Hungary

On 29 September, the 11th Hungarian Cheese Awards, the biggest showcase of Hungarian artisanal and farmhouse cheeses, was held in Etyek. The “Cheese of the Year” award was won by the Hegedűs Dairy with its traditional Hegedűs cheese made in copper vat.

At the same time as the cheese judging, more than a hundred participants listened to the presentations of the conference at the Etyek Visitor Centre. Bronwen Percival, cheese buyer from Neal’s Yard Dairy in London, talked about her view about “real cheese”: “I look for uniqueness in a cheese, for me ”real cheese” means that I can taste the flavour of the farm, which is an expression of the different levels of the farming system that characterises it: not only the animals, but also the plants and microbes that influence the flavour.” Malen Sarasula, Director of the Leartiker Dairy Centre talked about cheese ripening concepts, and Sebastién Picoulet, dairy technologist at La Fourniture Laitière in France, reminded cheesemakers that they must choose the right culture practices for their goals. Gábor Szafner, Head of the Research, Development and Innovation Department of the Hungarian Dairy Research Institute gave a presentation on cheese defects.

The new programme element was the Hungarian Cheese Table, opened by Balázs Győrffy, President of the National Chamber of Agriculture, was a great success. Balázs Győrffy pointed out that a decade ago, only a few people in Hungary were involved in the production of special, premium artisan and farmhouse cheeses, but today the field has developed a lot.

The award ceremony was preceded by the announcement of the results of the “rebranding” competition organised in cooperation between the Budapest Metropolitan University and the Hungarian Cheesemakers Association. Krisztián Gál, lecturer of graphic design students, emphasised that it is always a pleasure and a challenge for students to work on graphic design projects that will be realised later on. Emese Fekete’s design won first place in the competition for the renewal of the image.

Since 2013, the Hungarian Cheesemakers Association has organised the Hungarian Awards, the largest competition for artisan and farmhouse cheesemakers in Hungary. This year 161 samples were judged by a professional jury, including three foreign experts. Lionel Guérin, a retired teacher from the Enilbio Poligny Dairy School and one of the organisers of the Paris Agricultural Show cheese competition, was the chief judge. Lionel Guérin has been awarded the title of “Master of Hungarian Cheesemakers” by the Hungarian Cheesemakers Association for his many years of teaching.
As a result of the judging, 4 gold, 19 silver and 20 bronze certificates were awarded.  –  4 October 2023