The Great British Cheddar Challenge – How it Works

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Why should I pre-register for the Cheddar Challenge?

To guarantee delivery of your six artisan cheeses. £35 buys you six cheeses, enough for 4 to share and includes delivery as needed.

How will the tasting event work?

This is an online blind tasting of 6 cheddars. Each cheddar will be wrapped and numbered. You only need to order your cheese and join the online tasting. Participants will be given a link to a formatted tasting sheet. This will be used to professionally assess each cheddar with the expert cheese panel and producers. Comedian and cheese lover Marcus Brigstocke

What is ‘The People’s Choice’? Why is it a good thing?

The people’s choice cheddar will be the cheese most favoured of the six tasted. It is good to shout about the people’s choice as it will be an artisan cheddar picked for its unique flavour profile. All Cheddars will have a unique flavour, and the one most celebrated in the evening will receive more coverage. In turn, and most importantly, we will increase awareness of real artisan cheese and help drive up much-needed sales.

Who can join and take part in the Cheddar Challenge?

Everyone is welcome to watch live online from anywhere in the World. Obviously, having the cheese with you is a bonus as you can interact with the producers and cheese panel.

How does voting for my favourite cheese work?

You will be asked to pick your favourite cheese at the end of the tasting. You will choose the number corresponding to your favourite cheddar and click the choice. The most-voted cheddar will be announced at the Big Cheese Weekender – hosted by The Academy of Cheese.

What if I don’t buy the cheddar?

You can still join online to watch and listen to the proceedings.

Do I have to buy the official box, or can I buy the cheeses separately?

If you wish to buy the cheeses separately you are more than welcome. Order through your local participating retailer. The cheese will be wrapped and named, unlike the tasting boxes. Also, you will not have access to unique Academy of Cheese tasting sheets. The link to the event can be found online via the Academy of Cheese or participating retailers.

How much & when will the tasting boxes go on sale/when should I order the cheese?

Tasting boxes are £35. They are available to reserve immediately from all participating cheese mongers and retailers. Cheese boxes will be delivered from the 11th of September.

What’s in the tasting box?

Six real artisan cheddars that are wrapped and numbered instead of named. A link to the tasting event and official AOC printable tasting sheets will also be there. There will be enough cheese for 4 to share. The cheeses that will be included in the box are listed below.

What if I can’t make the event?

The event is online. You can dial in wherever you are in the World. The live event begins at 19:00 GMT on the 16th of September.

Do I have to vote on the day (or can I watch and vote on demand)

You will need to vote on the day as the event is live. A recorded version will be available on demand, although voting is only possible at night.

Tasting Cheddars included in the box (serves 4) and numbered not named:

Pitchfork  – Made by Trethowen Brothers near Weston Super Mare, Somerset. This cheese is first class picked by our Head of Cheese, James (World Cheese Judge), at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo. It went on to become England’s best cheese in 2019. Seen as the new boys on the block in Somerset, moving from Wales, creating this wonderful organic Holstein & Jersey cow’s milk masterpiece. Its flavour has savoury tones and is balanced by bright acidity and oxo richness. It has a long-lasting tangy finish. This works well with an old-school British cider.

Hafod  – Made by the Holden Family in Bwlchwernen Fawr, Lampeter, Wales. Made with raw milk from the farm’s 75 Ayrshire cows. Ayrshire milk is rich in butterfat and protein and is widely regarded as ideally suited to cheesemaking. Although the recipe for the cheese is very similar to that of a Cheddar, Hafod has distinctive rich, buttery, nutty flavours – indicative of the Swiss origins of the original recipe. The cheese is made in 10kg rounds and matured to 12 months, during which time it develops a traditional mould rind.

Montgomery – Made by Jamie Montgomery in North Cadbury, Somerset. Montgomery cheese has been made within the Montgomery family for over 70 years, and great pains are made to ensure that the recipe and quality of the cheese remain the same. So committed to the original production methods, Montgomery Cheddar still uses the traditional source of enzymes to start the curd, calf rennet – which is one of the reasons why the Montgomery Cheddar Cheese has such character—crowned Supreme Champion and Best of British Cheese at the Virtual Cheese Awards 2023.

Quicke’s – Made by legend Mary Quicke in Newton St. Cyres, Devon. Milk from their own pasture grazed Quicke’s cows, a mixture of Kiwi Friesian, Swedish Red and Montebeliarde. It is handmade using traditional methods before being bound in cloth and matured for 12-15 months. A rich buttery cheddar that offers outstanding depth of flavour, which develops as it reaches the back of the palate. Brothy to grassy to caramel notes with a wonderful horseradish spice closer to the rind.

Isle of Mull– Made by Brendan Reade in Near Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland. The herd feeds on grass in summer and hay in winter but enjoys a supplement of fermented grain throughout the year, a unique addition that only adds to the cheese’s deeply flavoursome complexity. Once set and moulded, the cheeses are kept in an underground cellar to mature for up to 18 months. As a result, this expresses a fantastic, rugged cheddar with an almost boozy hint from the fermented grains.

Mount Leinster – Made by Tom Burgess, who has been producing top-quality milk from his pasture-fed cows in West Wicklow, Ireland, for twenty years. Tom wanted to develop a product that reflected this quality and decided it would be Mature Raw Milk Cheddar. “Pasture to Cheddar the same day”. During this time, the unique combination of enzymes & proteins interact to create a gourmet experience of aroma, texture & full flavour, which develops slowly from sweet fruit to a full nutty note.