The best cheese in the world, 2007:Renard Gillard’s Brie de Meaux.
World Cheese Awards Winners 2007
The Best Cheeses In The World
CAPSULE REPORT: The best cheeses in the world for 2007 have been named by an international panel of judges in London. Track down as many as you can and invite your cheese-loving friends over for a “winner’s circle” cheese tasting.
The World Cheese Awards took place in London last month about the same time as the U.S. Cheese Champions in Wisconsin. Two hundred and fifty cheeses from the U.S. crossed the pond to compete against the world’s best, and won their fair share of bronze, silver, gold and Best In Show.
Almost two thousand cheeses were judged by 120 cheese specialists, who had to taste them all in a single day (divide and conquer, of course) and give awards in 155 categories. A jury of 13 international experts then re-tasted the 155 gold-winning cheeses, producing first a “long list” of 76. A third tasting produced a “short list” of 13 cheeses considered the best of their kind in the world, to determine the world champion. The short-listed cheeses were then tasted for a fourth and final time, and it took a show of hands to finally determine which would be declared World Champion Cheese 2007.
The top honors went to Renard Gillard’s Brie de Meaux, which was also declared Best French Cheese. The fromagerie has been making cheese in the village of Biencourt sur Orge, in the Lorraine region of France, for 120 years.
Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese named after Brie, the French province in which it originated (roughly corresponding to the modern département of Seine-et-Marne) in the region of Île-de-France, originally called the “District of the Paris Region” and still popularly referred to by French people as the Région Parisienne or RP.
Renard Gillard’s prize-winning Brie was made in the
Lorraine, in the east of France, not in north-central
Île-de-France where the A.O.C.-protected brie was
Brie de Meaux, manufactured outside of Paris since the eighth century, was originally known as the “King’s Cheese” and was enjoyed by the peasantry and nobility alike; following the French Revolution, the name was changed to “King of Cheeses.” Brie was granted the protection of AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) status in 1980.
The 2007 Winners
While gold, silver and bronze awards are given in 155 categories (you can see them here), the “best in show” awards are given to cheeses by categories that generally fall among national lines:
- Best American Cheese: Marin French Gold, Marin French Cheese Co., California (photo at right)
- Best Blue PDO* Cheese: Fourme D’Ambert Livradois
- Best Cheddar in Show: JA & E Montgomery, England
- Best English Cheese: Isle of Wight Blue by Isle of Wight Cheese Co.
- Best Extra Mature Traditional Cheddar: Fiscalini Cheese Co., USA
- Best French Goat’s Cheese: Selles sur Cher AOC† by Laiteries H Triballat
- Best German Cheese: Rougette by Kaserei Champignon
- Best Hard PDO* Cheese: Comte Extra Prestige AOC Entremont Alliance, France
- Best Irish Cheese: St. Killian, Carrigbyrne by Farmhouse Cheese Co.
- Best Italian Cheese: Caprini by Mauri Spa
- Best Le Gruyère AOC†: Le Gruyère AOC by Premier Cru Von Muhlenen, Switzerland.
- Best Mature Block Farmhouse Cheddar: Tower Farms, England
- Best Mature Traditional Cheddar: JA & E Montgomery
- Best New Cheese: Munsterlander Grienkenschmied by Molkerei Sobbeke GmbH & Co.KG
- Best PDO* Cheese: Brie de Meaux by Renard Gillard
- Best South African Cheese: Blue Rock by Fairview Cheese Co.
*Protected Domaine of Origin, name protection for EU products.
†Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée is the French version of PDO for French and Swiss products.
What’s next? The American Cheese Society competition in August—about 1,000 of America’s best.
Marin French Gold, a rich soft and creamy cow’s milk triple crème (photo above), was voted Best American Cheese.
In a stunning upset, the company’s Rouge et Noir brand Triple Cream Brie, earned the gold prize for best pasteurized Brie cheese—the first time an American cheese company won the highest award for a soft ripened cheese in an international blind tasting competition. While a French Brie did win Best of Show, this was a momentous day for American Brie.
Gold medal winner: Marin French Cheese Company’s Rouge et Noir brand pasteurized Brie.
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