The world’s best cheese comes from a dairy in Cornwall, but you can’t eat it until 2019
The world’s best cheese? A medium-hard from west Cornwall.
Cornish Kern, an alpine-style cheese made by the Lynher Dairies Cheese Company, based near Truro, has been named World Champion Cheese at the 30th annual World Cheese Awards.
Despite only coming to market two years ago, it beat 3,000 cheeses from 34 other countries (including France: bien tenté!) to win the
“It was the most incredible surprise,” said Catherine Mead, the dairy’s owner-director. “This is the trophy of trophies. All of us were absolutely bowled over. It’s such a great reward for everyone’s hard work in the dairy.”
Kern, which won a Supergold award last year without winning the overall award, was this year awarded 75 points out of a possible 80 by the final jury of 16 judges. In second place, with 69 points, was an Italian Blu Di Bufala made by Quattro Portoni Caseificio.
Catherine Mead called the award “the trophy of trophies” CREDIT: REBECCA GREGSON
Over a single day at London’s Tobacco Dock, a total of 230 judges whittled down the 3,000 entries to 66, 16, and then, finally, to the winner. With each cheese, they examined the rind and the body of the cheese, its colour, texture, consistency and, above all, its taste.
So what’s Kern like? According to Cathy Strange, one of the judges, Kern is “visually stunning with its standout dark rind, and the quality of milk is really evident in this cheese. It has an amazing age and a complexity, which keeps on coming. This is a super cheese and I would be glad to have it on any table.”
Its makers describe it as firm to the cut but slightly flaky in the middle. Originally derived from a Gouda-style cheese, Kern has a buttery taste with caramel notes and a deep savoury aroma. “Kern” is Cornish for round, but is also short for “Kernow”, which is Cornish for “Cornwall”.
The award comes six months after an English white wine was named the world’s best, thus capping a memorable year for the UK in traditionally Gallic areas of food and drink.
“The French produce great cheese but so do the English,” said Ms Mead. “We mustn’t be underestimated.”
If you want to try it for yourself, though, you will have to wait: Kern takes 16 months to mature. Ms Mead said her dairy will have to step up from the seasonal rhythm demanded by making Cornish Yarg in order to make enough Kern to satisfy interested cheese aficionados.
While the dairy has been selling Kern to a handful of chefs and airlines, it will not be ready to take individual orders until 2019. Until then, the dairy invites cheese lovers to contact them directly to arrange pre-orders.