Food and Drink Wales partner with the Virtual Cheese Awards to help showcase Britain’s best dairy

The Virtual Cheese Awards, a pioneering online award event which celebrates the best of British cheese, is proud to announce that Food and Drink Wales is its headline sponsor for 2021.

The 2021 Virtual Cheese Awards in association with Food and Drink Wales will take place for a second year on Friday 7th May 2021. There is only two weeks left to enter the awards with entries for the 42 classes closing promptly on 24th March 2021.

Interest in the UK’s first ever online-only cheese awards has been strong with 100s of entries already received and a raft of supporters from across the British food and dairy industry signing up to support the event.

The cheese awards celebrate the diversity and quality of British dairy as well as nurturing future talent to help promote a sustainable and thriving industry. It aims to create a unifying platform that supports all elements of the cheese industry– from cheesemakers and cheesemongers and everyone in between.

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I’m delighted that Food and Drink Wales are the headline partner of the 2021 Virtual Cheese Awards, which promotes and celebrates excellence within the industry.

“We have a proud tradition of cheese-making in Wales and it forms a major part of our booming food and drink industry. From artisan to larger producers, we boast an impressive list of award-winning cheeses and I’m certain this will continue to grow over the coming years.

“I’m sure that this year’s event will once again be a roaring success and I would urge producers from across the country to get their entries in by the deadline.”

Sarah de Wit, Founder of the Virtual Cheese Awards and Cheese & Dairy consultant said: “We’re incredibly proud to partner with Food and Drink Wales as they become our headline sponsor. We are excited to see all the wonderful Welsh cheeses that will join the other innovative cheeses being produced across the United Kingdom.

We run the Awards on a not-for-profit basis so the more businesses who support us with sponsorship means we can raise even more money for our bursary fund with the Specialist Cheesemakers Association. This will help support British cheesemakers who are facing financial challenges in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as invest in innovative cheese producers coming into the market.”

The Virtual Cheese Awards in association with Food and Drink Wales has 400 individual entries available across nine categories making a total of 42 individual classes. Categories include Best Cheddar Cheese, Best Territorial, Best Blue and Best Speciality cheese as well as a new Dairy Free category for dairy-free and vegan products. An overall Best of British Cheese will be chosen from the winners of the main cheese categories.

This year sees the introduction of a new Recognising Excellence category that includes three classes including Most Innovative Cheese Packaging, Sustainability in Cheese production and Cheese Hero given to someone who has gone over and above to support the cheese industry.

Sarah de Wit adds: “We have bolstered the prize for the 2021 event so the Best of British cheese will walk away with almost £10,000 worth of support for its business. It includes free editorial in the top food magazines in the UK, a free spot at Speciality & Fine Food Fair, Academy of Cheese course and a surprise prize from Selfridges.”

The Virtual Cheese Awards in association with Food and Drink Wales prize includes:

 

  • Free editorial features and digital coverage in Speciality Food magazine and Great British Food magazine worth £4,000
  • Opportunity to have the winning cheese showcased at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair by the VCA team worth approximately £5,000
  • Two x Level 1 Academy of Cheese courses and a year’s subscription worth over £300
  • A surprise prize from Selfridges
  • A PR consultation from cheese PR specialist, North PR worth £500.
     
    There will be one overall winner of Best of British cheese which will be chosen from the winners of the eight categories, which are;
  • Best Cheddar Cheese
  • Best Territorial Cheese
  • Best Blue Cheese
  • Best Enhanced Cheese
  • Best Speciality Cheese
  • Best Artisan Cheese
  • Free From Cheese
  • Recognising Excellence -
    • Trophy for Sustainability in Cheese Production
    • Most Innovative cheese packaging
    • Cheese Hero – a person who has gone over and above to support the Cheese Industry or created an outstanding innovation.
       
      All the cheeses which will be expertly judged online with final winners judged and revealed in LIVE online on Friday 7th May 2021.
       
      Entries close on 24th March 2021.
      Early bird prices are £35 per entry for the first 150 entries, rising to £45 per entry thereafter.
      Producers can enter online and details of where to send the cheese samples will be communicated.
       
      Sponsors of the Virtual Cheese Award 2021 are:
       
  • Headline sponsor; Food and Drink Wales
  • Speciality Food Magazine -      Headline media partner
  • Great British Food Magazine –       Headline media partner
  • Speciality Fine Food Fair – Headline Event Partner and Best Artisan Cheese
  • ALPMA GB Ltd – Artisan Farm Milk award
  • Wyke Farm - Trophy for Sustainability
  • Sycamore Process Engineering – Best Mature Traditional Cheese
  • Sharpham Cheese – Event Facilitation Partner
  • Butler’s Cheese - Official Apron Sponsor
  • Joseph Heler – Red Leicester class
  • Invest Northern Ireland – Best Territorial cheese
  • Cheesus App – Best Cheddar Cheese
  • Ablebox – Best Vintage Cheddar
  • Christeyns – Best Cheshire Cheese
  • Orchard Valley Dairy – Best Waxed Cheese and Best Organic Soft Cheese
  • The Cheese Merchant – Best White Mould Cheese
    Additional supporters
     
  • Peter’s Yard – 2021 Cracker partner
  • Academy of Cheese – Friend of the VCA and prize partner
  • Specialist Cheesemakers Association – Charity partner
  • Good Sense Research – Judging Officiation partner
  • Selfridges – Friend of the VCA and prize partner
     
    A variety of sponsorship packages are available for the awards, please contact;

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