Some 14 Irish cheesemakers won 69 awards at the recent International Cheese Awards event which was held in Nantwich, England.
Irish cheeses won eight trophies, 19 gold medals, 17 silver medals, 17 bronze medals and eight very highly commended form the 200 expert judges, Bord Bia says.
Organisers of the awards said that they had their biggest year to date receiving an all-time high of over 4,600 entries from 274 exhibitors based in 31 different countries.
In 2014, Bord Bia says that the export value of Irish cheese grew by around 5% to reach over $175m in 2014 and the UK accounts for close to 60% of cheese exports.
Strong increases were evident to international markets such as Japan, the US and Saudi Arabia, it says.
In terms of farmhouse cheese, Bord Bia says that some 50 cheesemakers now produce more than 150 types of cheese and the sector has continued to experience recent export growth targeting 25 markets worth approximately €5m.
Mossfield Organic Farm, based in Birr, Co. Offaly, was awarded The Waitrose Trophy for ‘Best Cheese in Specialist Cheesemakers’. Other trophies went to Kerry, Glanbia and Carrigaline Cheese.
Speaking after the awards, Eimear O’Donnell, Bord Bia’s Consumer Dairy Manager, said that Irish cheese consistently stands up when judged against our overseas counterparts and the industry’s awards haul this year vindicates that and recognizes the individual producers’ input.
“Bord Bia is confident that the Irish dairy sector’s reputation in terms of sustainability, quality and innovation will ensure it succeeds internationally as it realises its potential following the lifting of dairy quotas,” she said.
The awards were held in the Cheese Marquee at the Nantwich and South Cheshire Show.