Unnamed cheese numbered among winners

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It is so new, it does not even have a name.

But Whitestone Cheese’s #55 – an English Lancashire-style cheese – is already getting national attention, awarded a gold medal in the 2021 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.

Nine of the Oamaru cheesemaker’s 12 entries medalled in this year’s awards. Its Oamaru Blue, 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 bronze.

Managing director Simon Berry said Whitestone Cheese entered all of its premium black-label cheeses, as well as some new and experimental varieties, such as #55, Round Hill and Catalina Rouge.

“We’re really thrilled that our new ones have come shining through,” Mr Berry said.

Named after the address of Whitestone Cheese’s Oamaru factory, at 55 Humber St, for the awards, #55 was developed by head cheesemaker Chris Moran.

“It’s based on an English recipe and then he’s put his own spin, his own techniques, to it,” Mr Berry said.

“Chris was confident to enter it … he was proud of what he’d created.”

Whitestone Cheese had a batch of #55 that was “ready to go” name might stick.

More than 310 cheeses from 35 cheese companies across New Zealand were entered in the 2021 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.

After being judged by a panel of 32 judges – led by Jason Tarrant – 84 were awarded gold, 121 silver and 60 bronze.

All of the gold medal-winning cheeses are now up for higher honours, which will be presented at a gala dinner at SkyCity in Hamilton on May 5. Mr Moran is also in the running for champion cheesemaker.