Delicious and decadent dairy was in abundance at the 25th Australian Grand Dairy Awards held in Victoria Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds on Thursday 1 February hosted by Dairy Australia and the Royal Agriculture Societies.
The annual Awards acknowledge excellence, quality and innovation across 18 dairy product classes, attracting entrants from each Australian state. Considered Australia’s most prestigious and highly regarded dairy accolade, the event saw Victoria’s Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese Oak Blue claim the Grand Champion Cheese title and Queensland’s artisan gelato shop Milani Minus Eight Degrees crowned as Grand Champion Dairy, for its Peanut Caramel Gelato.
The winning champions represented each Australian state across categories such as cheese, ice cream, milk, yoghurt, butter, and gelato. The rigorous judging process was conducted by a panel of expert judges comprising of dairy experts, cheesemongers, retailers, chefs, food experts from across the country.
World renowned cheese expert and Australian Grand Dairy Award chief judge Russell Smith said this year’s entries are testament to the innovation and creativity of producers, and Australia’s high-quality dairy.
“Each year we expect to taste exceptional dairy products. Year after year, our expectations are exceeded. The class of products presented saw winners and finalists from across the nation – showcasing the breadth of excellence Australian dairy has to offer,” Mr Smith said. “We’re thrilled to pay recognition to the talented producers that continue to invest time, energy, and passion into their craft. Australian dairy products continue to grow in strength, and no doubt the artisans at this year’s Australian Grand Dairy Awards have played a part in putting Aussie dairy on the world stage.”
Yue Lin, winner of the Grand Champion Dairy product second year in a row, and owner of Milani Minus Eight Degrees, Market Square Sunnybank said he has spent the better part of 10 years perfecting his craft. “My love story with gelato began on a family holiday to Italy in 2004. 10 years later I returned to study gelato making and my career began,” Mr Lin said.
“My family and I at Milani Minus Eight Degrees have been dedicated to gelato perfection since we opened, and the award is yet another acknowledgement of this dedication. We are thrilled to have been recognised by such a prestigious award.”
Winner of the Grand Champion Cheese product and owners Barry Charlton and Cheryl Hulls from Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheeses said the award was a welcome surprise.
“We are honoured to have been acknowledged on this occasion. Our Oak Blue is a crowd favourite among our customers, and this award is a testament to the hard work of the whole team to bring the best cheese to Victoria and Australia, Mr Charlton said. Dairy Australia Head of Marketing Glenys Zucco added the Australian Grand Dairy Awards is a long- standing legacy of Dairy Australia.
“For 25 years, Dairy Australia has recognised the best of the best in Australian dairy. This year, we are pleased to have introduced a new partnership with the Royal Agricultural Societies to further strengthen the delivery of Awards and ensure they remain the premier dairy awards within Australia,” Ms Zucco said.
“We continue to be impressed by the quality of the entries year on year. This year was no exception.”
The Awards saw 380 entrants across 18 categories judged on flavour, aroma, texture, body, and visual appearance to determine the finest products. To shop the award-winning products, Australians are encouraged to look for the blue and gold medal on pack.
To extend the celebration, Australians are being called upon to help crown the winner of Australia’s Greatest Cheeseboard.
Each cheeseboard features award-winning cheeses from around the country – and Dairy Australia have enlisted the help of top Aussie foodies to create their own perfectly paired cheeseboard in their own unique style.
Australians can cast their vote and go into the running to win a $1000 Ripe Cheese voucher here: https://www.dairy.com.au/our-programs/australian-grand-dairy-awards/cheeseboard-competition
For more information visit www.dairy.com.au/agda