Portobello cheese SA's top dairy product
May 15th 2012, 08:37
The Portobello Franschhoek Angelot, a washed-rind cheese, wears the crown as the 2012 Dairy Product of the Year. In addition, twenty six excellent dairy products were awarded the coveted Qualité mark of excellence, and 90 dairy products were lauded SA Champions during last night’s (25 April) DuPont Qualité Awards Dinner. Judging on the number, quality and style of entries, it is safe to say that the cheese renaissance is alive in South Africa.
SA Dairy Product of the Year
Pitted against more than 780 entries in categories including cheese, butter, cottage cheese, yoghurt, flavoured milk, dairy dips, ice cream and dairy dessert, the Portobello Franschhoek Angelot won the favour of the 40 esteemed judges.
This washed-rind cheese, also known as a ‘smelly cheese’, is made from Ayrshire milk and is one of the more difficult cheeses to make and perfect. “Although SA consumers, including the judges, are increasingly braving the more exciting types of cheese, the fact that such an extremely strong, and even pungent cheese, could entice the whole group of judges to award it such high marks, must mean that it is an exceptional cheese,” says Kobus Mulder, chief judge of the Championships.
A washed-rind cheese ripens from the surface inward which means that the fermentation process as well as the metabolism of fat and protein must be managed extremely well by the cheese maker. The judges agreed this cheese can compete with the best from France. The process of washing the rind as it matures, changes the firm young cheese into one with a soft and supple texture and orange coloured rind. With age, the rind becomes sticky and reddish while the aroma becomes earthier. The paradox of a powerful aromatic rind and milder flavour is responsible for a veritable explosion in the mouth.
A select twenty six dairy products received the Qualité Award – South Africa’s only officially acknowledged symbol of outstanding dairy quality – during this year’s DuPont Qualité Awards Dinner.
No less than six Qualité Awards paid homage to Parmalat’s dairy prowess. Their Simonsberg Matured Cheddar, Woolworths Farmhouse Cheddar, Parmalat Extra Matured Cheddar, Woolworths Vintage Cheddar, Parmalat Vintage Cheddar and Simonsberg Traditional Cream Cheese will soon wear this much desired black and gold emblem. Their closest rival was Clover SA with three Qualité Awards; while DairyBelle, de Pekelaar Kaas, Lancewood Holdings, Rhodes Food Group and Van der Poel Kaas each won two Qualité Awards. Other Qualité winners include Anysbos, Fairview Cheese Company, Goat Peter, La Montanara, Lausanne Dairies, Marcel’s Frozen Yogurt and Puglia Cheese.
SA Champion dairy products
Ninety (90) superb dairy products were honoured by being named SA Champions. Parmalat lead with 11 champions, Lancewood Holdings followed closely on their heels with 9, and DairyBelle secured 7 champions. Belnori Boutique Cheesery, Clover SA and Fairfield Dairy tied with 6 each. Fairview Cheese Company, Fair Cape Dairies and Rhodes Food Group have each 5 champion products.
Close to 790 entries
“For large and boutique manufacturers this competition offers the ideal platform to benchmark their wares against those of their competitors,” says Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo, organizer of the SA Dairy Championships. “Winning such a prestigious award is invaluable in terms of gaining exposure for a company and product.” The SA Dairy Championships are the country’s largest dairy competition and Agri-Expo has been presenting it since 1834.
According to Kobus Mulder a rise in the quality of goat’s milk products can be seen, and especially goat’s milk yogurt can compete against the best cow’s milk yogurts on the market. “Producers are realising that the consumer’s taste and preferences are being refined and that they now increasingly expect products of higher quality,” he says. “Aged and washed-rind cheeses are also gaining on the milder, more traditional products – pointing to a more developed consumer taste.”
Ulf Mortensen, a cheese developer from Denmark, joined the local team for the judging process. “I was impressed with the large number of entries and the overall standard of the cheeses. Most examples of very high quality were within the Cheddar segment, especially the vintage (1+ year) category,” he says.
For further details about the SA Diary Championships, contact Agri-Expo at 021 975 4440 or visit www.cheesesa.co.za.Click here for more information on Portobello
Rhodes Food Group is waxing it where cheese is concerned. The Big Cheese this year is their Franschhoek Angelot, which not only won a coveted 2012 Qualité Award, but was voted the 2012 Product of the Year at the South African Dairy Championships.
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