During the 29th International Cheese Contest in Wisconsin (USA), Vermeer, a cheese from the ‘A Dutch Masterpiece’ line, was voted the best cheese in the world. The cheese, produced by FrieslandCampina, is a mature cheese with a full-bodied taste, but with reduced fat and salt for the international market. In the Netherlands, it is sold under the name Cantenaar. This is the second time that FrieslandCampina cheese has been voted the best cheese in the world. In 2004 the award went to Rembrandt cheese from the same line.
Vermeer is a full, naturally matured cheese with reduced fat and salt and was praised by the jury for its ‘soft and pure taste’. According to one jury member, the cheese has ‘a strong body and is soft and smooth in the mouth’. The cheese goes very well with bread, salads and drinks. Piet Nederhoed, plant manager at Steenderen, where the winning cheese is produced, is very happy with the prize: “We’re proud that we make this fantastic cheese. Apart from its full-bodied taste, what makes this cheese so special is the fact that it contains less fat and salt than mature Gouda cheese. Vermeer cheese is matured naturally for 22 weeks to achieve the best possible taste.”
Nine of FrieslandCampina’s other cheeses, including Frico mature Edam, extra mature Milner, mature Milner, and cumin-flavoured cheese from the province of Noord Holland also received awards. The overall winner, Vermeer, is sold in the Netherlands under the brand name Cantenaar and is available from supermarkets and specialist cheese shops.
The International Cheese Contest is held every two years. This year, 2,500 cheeses were tasted in 82 categories. In previous years, the judging was the sole preserve of an expert jury. This year, visitors to the event were also allowed to try the cheeses, which meant that four hundred consumers were able to cast their vote.