Blue gold . . . Whitestone Cheese head cheesemaker Chris Moran (left) and sales manager Franco Sessa accepted the award for best new cheese at the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Blue is gold for Whitestone Cheese.

After being announced as a gold medal winner in March, the cheesemaker’s Oamaru Blue was named best new cheese at the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards last week.

Managing director Simon Berry was delighted with the success, saying it was great recognition for head cheesemaker Chris Moran and the whole team.

Nine of Whitestone Cheese’s 12 entries medalled in this year’s awards.

Its #55, Lindis Pass Brie, Vintage Windsor Blue and Vintage Five Forks were also awarded gold medals, while its Roundhill, Windsor Blue and Lindis Pass Camembert were awarded silver and its Catalina Rouge received bronze.

“We had a 75% strike rate of medals out of what we entered, and one trophy,” Mr Berry said.

“[We’re] thrilled with the result and it’s great to show that our quality is up there.”

Oamaru Blue was developed by Mr Moran and had been about 18 months in the making, Mr Berry said.

“We wanted to do a high moisture cheese.

“We’ve used our 45 South mould in there, as well as other combinations of mould.

“It just came about through evolving and developing our blue cheese range.

“We wanted something that was spreadable and soft and something that was a real talking point.

“Chris started from scratch, really.

“He did some Kiwi ingenuity and applied what ingredients we had here and he’s created something new.

“The main techniques that he uses aren’t being done anywhere else.”

Oamaru Blue was released at the start of the year.

Because it was high in moisture, it was difficult to get into widespread retail, Mr Berry said.

In Oamaru, it was available at the Whitestone Cheese store and at the Sunday farmers’ market.