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Berrys Creek Oak Blue cheese “best of the best”

Oak Blue, made by Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese at Fish Creek, has won Grand Champion Cheese in the 2020 Australian Grand Dairy Awards. From left are Evy Nye, Jack Nye, very proud Berrys Creek owner Cheryl Hulls, Tom Nye, Tenille Kennedy, Matthew Taylor and Kym Dollan. Berrys Creek’s other owner and head cheesemaker Barry Charlton was away attending to other equally important cheese matters!

BERRYS Creek Gourmet Cheese of Fish Creek’s Oak Blue is the nation’s “best of the best” after winning Grand Champion Cheese in the 2020 Australian Grand Dairy Awards held in Melbourne on Thursday February 6, 2020.

This year’s Grand Champions – the highest scoring dairy and cheese products – both went to Victorian producers, with Berrys Creek claiming the Cheese crown, and Fonterra gaining the top dairy sash for its Western Star Salted Butter from Cobden.

The Brandon family, who run Prom Country Cheese at Moyarra near Kongwak, won the Grand Dairy Awards’ Goat’s/Sheep/Buffalo Milk Cheese 2020 Champion trophy for their Venus Blue.

Victorian producers claimed the highest number of Champion titles, taking out seven of the 19 categories, while Western Australia followed with four, New South Wales won three, South Australia and Queensland each got two, and Tasmania one.

Berrys Creek cheeses are made by owners Barry Charlton and Cheryl Hulls, together with their skilled and dedicated staff, in a modern cheesery built high on the Hoddle Range overlooking Corner Inlet and Wilsons Promontory.

Cheryl said she and Barry, “just about fell off our chairs in surprise at the awards ceremony when we won the Grand Champion Cheese!

“The cheese entries are divided into various categories, such as blues, whites and non-bovine milk, and they must be champions in their own right to be eligible to go into the Australian Grand Dairy Awards,” she said.

“We did most of our qualifying at the 2019 Royal Sydney Easter Show when our Oak Blue and five of our other cheeses won all gold medals.”

Cheryl said a whole Oak Blue cheese, weighing some 4.5 kilograms, was chosen and taken straight from the shelf at Berrys Creek and presented for judging in Melbourne about one week prior to the announcement of the winners.

“Our cheese was just over 10 weeks old at the time, which was perfect as this type of blue cheese is best at about 10 to 12 weeks of age,” she said.

“We are all delighted to win the 2020 Australian Grand Champion Cheese trophy for our Oak Blue, and we’re looking forward to seeing how our several entries in the 2020 Royal Sydney Easter Show will go.”

Dairy Australia’s Australian Grand Dairy Awards convener Alexandra Kury said the Awards “recognise and reward excellence and quality in Australian dairy produce, paying tribute to the achievements of the highly skilled specialists who develop and make these products.

“Each of the 400 products entered in 2020, the 21st year of the Grand Dairy Awards, are already gold medal winners in State level competitions.

“The world class quality and excellence of Australia’s top cheeses, ice creams, milks, butter, gelato and more are judged by a 12-strong panel of top dairy judges,” she said.

“Winning at The Australian Grand Dairy Awards is the highest accolade in the dairy industry and is testament to our farmers and producers, whose hard work and dedication to their craft inspires some of the highest quality dairy products in the world.”

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