The top cheese of 2022, as decreed by a collection of experts rushing their way through entries.
What is the best cheese in the world? I’m sure this is a question that all readers of this particular site ponder on a frequent basis. Well, fret no more. The International Cheese And Dairy Awards, which took place as the culmination of a three-day orgy of cheese and dairy in Staffordshire in England, has announced its winner (the judging was on June 30th but the press release has only just been released, presumably because everyone involved had been in a cheese coma for a week). Step forward the Long Clawson Dairy’s Blue Shropshire, which has been hailed as The Supreme Champion – what a title! – after what feels like a less-than-rigorous testing of some 4000 cheeses, judged in just four hours by 238 ‘experts’ (no, we have no idea how one becomes a cheese contest judge but of course, should we ever be invited to become one, we wouldn’t say no). Just how you can actually judge 16 kinds of cheese a minute with any accuracy is perhaps a question for another day. Whenever I have a cheese board, I like to savour each one rather than shovel it down in three seconds and then start on the next. That’s just me though.
We haven’t tasted the winner ourselves to the best of our knowledge – there are lots of Shropshire Blues out there and as far as I know, we’ve only ever had that particular flavour from other manufacturers. The fact that Shropshire Blue doesn’t even originate from Shropshire but is instead named as part of a marketing ploy and in fact currently hails from the midlands triumvirate of Nottingham, Leicester and Derby always makes us a tad suspicious – if a cheese sports a fake regional identity, that never seems to be a good sign. Also – we’ve had some absolutely remarkable, unique cheeses over the years that were veritable taste explosions but none of them has ever been a Shropshire Blue. Still, we’re not part of an expert panel so what do we know? Much as CAMRA can be relied on to vote a brown bitter as the Beer of the Year, maybe the judges here like the traditional (or pseudo-traditional) rather than the adventurous. In any case, we await trying out the Long Clawson variety to find out for ourselves. Maybe you should too. I don’t recall seeing this particular brand while out shopping (but again – I’ve not been looking for it) but maybe you can buy it from this year’s Supreme Cheese Retailer, which is supermarket giant Morrisons*. Take that, specialist cheese shops!
* I’ve checked online and you can’t.
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