The six month matured Huguenot cheese from Dalewood Fromage, a cheesery in
the heart of the Cape Winelands, was last night (24 April) crowned as the
2013 Dairy Product of the Year, having trounced some 800 products entered by
69 artisan and commercial producers. Twelve exceptional dairy products that
earned the most coveted Qualité mark of excellence joined this winning
cheese on the podium during the DuPont Qualité Awards Dinner of the SA Dairy
Championships. An additional 95 products were lauded as SA Champions.
The SA Dairy Championships is South Africas oldest and most authoritative
competition where the countrys large variety of dairy products pits
themselves against their rivals, says Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo, the
agricultural society that has been organising this competition for the past
179 years. Consumers and food experts are quite familiar with the black and
gold Qualité symbol, SAs only symbol of dairy excellence. Products, in
categories for butter, cheese, cottage cheese, yoghurt, flavoured milk,
dairy dips, ice cream and dairy desserts were tried and tested by a team of
59 seasoned dairy specialists and leading food editors and writers.
According to Kobus Mulder, cheese consultant and the main judge, raw milk
cheese was for the first time judged in a separate class. Especially
artisan cheeseries are increasingly experimenting with the creation of raw
milk cheese, he explains. The taste of raw milk cheese is more intense
and ardent cheese lovers really appreciate this product.
The formidable team of judges agrees: the variety and quality of products
are still increasing. Consumers expectations in terms of quality grow as
their taste for cheese and their knowledge develops. Cheese makers, in turn,
realise that a wide variety alone cannot account for increased sales; rather
quality plays the decisive role, says Kobus Mulder.
SA Dairy Product of the Year
The Huguenot cheese, the largest wheel of cheese manufactured in South
Africa, is a semi hard, brushed rind cheese that is slowly matured for at
least six months. Although the flavour is intense with nutty nuances,
consumers enjoy this product as part of a cheese board or in a dish.
The winning cheese with its unique flavour and texture was developed in 2003
by Rob Visser. If this cheese should be available in the Haute Savoie
region of France, those discerning cheese experts would appreciate it no
end, says Mulder.
The high quality milk from the farms own Jersey herd, which are not treated
with growth or milk enhancing hormones, forms an integral part of Dalewood
Fromages winning recipe.
A mere twelve (12) superior products were this year honoured with the
Qualité mark of excellence. Consumers should be on the lookout for these top
products: Parmalats Simonsberg Matured Gouda, the Woolworths Mild Cheddar
White and the Woolworths Salted Butter. Following closely in terms of the
number of Qualité Awards is Klein River Cheese with two awards for their
Grana and SA Gruyere. Other companies with Qualité winners include Clover,
Dalewood Fromage, Fair Cape Dairies, Fairview Cheese Company, Lancewood,
Langbaken Karoo Cheese and Rhodes Food Groupwith one award each.
Ninety five (95 )outstanding dairy products were crowned as SA
Champions.Parmalat, South Africas largest producer of dairy products, lead
with no less than 16 champions, followed by Lancewood Holdings and Fair Cape
Dairies with 13 champions each. Fairviewboasts with 7 champions, Belnori
Boutique Cheesery with 5 and Clover earned 4.
Cheese lovers are invited to taste some of these winners at the 2013 SA
Cheese Festival from 26 28 April atSandringham outside Stellenbosch.
Contact Agri-Expo for more information about the SA Championships and the SA
Cheese Festival at 021 975 4440or visit