This Swiss Gruyère Just Was Named the World's Best Cheese for 2022

Over 4,000 cheese were sampled at this year's World Cheese Awards in Wales.

Le Gruyere AOP surchoix

Courtesy of Guild of Fine Food

On Wednesday, 250 international judges made up of cheesemakers and mongers, chefs, writers, and more, descended onto Wales to participate in the World Cheese Awards and crown a new winner. After tasting thousands of entrants (4,434 to be exact), Le Gruyère AOP surchoix, a matured gruyère made from raw cow's milk from Switzerland, won the top prize.

Entered by Swiss cheesemaker Vorderfultigen and affineur (refiner) Gourmino, the cheese was described by the judges as a "really refined, hand-crafted cheese," noting it melts in your mouth with just the right notes of herbs, fruits, and leather.

"A cheese with a lot of taste and bouquet," the judges added, according to CNN.

Le Gruyere AOP surchoix

Courtesy of Guild of Fine Food

CNN explained that to come to the winner, the judges scored thousands of cheeses based on their appearance (paying particular attention to the rind and the paste), aroma, body, texture, and mouthfeel.

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"What a final. To crown Le Gruyère AOP surchoix as this year's World Champion Cheese is so well deserved," John Farrand, the managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, which organizes the World Cheese Awards, shared in a statement. "The judges in the room today, our cheese experts from all over the world, were clearly blown away by the quality of the cheese and dedication shown by the cheesemakers."

Though you'd think something like an international cheese competition would be a rather sedate affair, the World Cheese Awards tend to be anything but. In 2021, a nearly brand new cheese company from Spain took home the big prize.

"We've been making cheese for less than five years, so we never imagined we could win the world's biggest prize in cheese so soon," Silvia Pelaez, head cheesemaker of the six-employee company Lacteos Romero Pelaez, shared after her victory. "Everything we do is inspired by our love for our family, including the name of the business itself, Quesos y Besos, so this is such a special moment for us. We've made it our mission to encapsulate the essence of our family in all of our cheeses, so to have such recognition from the World Cheese Awards judges is an incredible achievement and truly overwhelming."

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And in 2019, an American cheesemaker — Rogue Creamery from Oregon — won for the very first time, though it narrowly edged out the competition.

"This year's top prize was almost too close to call, and I would like to congratulate both Rogue Creamery and Nazionale del Parmigiano Reggiano Latteria Sociale Santo Stefano for going the distance and providing us with one of the most dramatic finales in World Cheese history," Farrand shared at the time. "Rogue Creamery has been at the forefront of the U.S. artisan cheese revolution for some years, so it seems very fitting for them to be the first American winners of our World Champion Cheese trophy."

As for this year's winner, Dennis Kaser, international marketing manager of Le Gruyère AOP, says it all came down to a team effort.

Le Gruyere AOP surchoix

Courtesy of Guild of Fine Food

"This is a result that shows the quality behind all these people working together; 1900 milk producers, 155 cheesemakers, and 11 refiners. This collaborative work results in such a high-quality cheese style, which is loved by the consumer," Kaser said. "I'm so very proud to be representing Le Gruyère. Huge congratulations to cheesemaker Vorderfultigen and affineur Gourmino."

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