We all know from our primary school Maori lessons that Kikorangi means blue but it means GOLD for the NZ Kapiti Cheese team. They won the supreme award at the recent NZ Champion of Cheese Awards.

One of New Zealand’s best known and most-loved cheese brands, Kapiti, has won a slew of awards at this year’s Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards. Four Kapiti cheeses were named champions in their respective categories and one cheese was singled out as the supreme champion, above hundreds of entries.

Kapiti’s king of cheeses, Kapiti Kikorangi was awarded the Yealands Estate Champion of Champions Award, the industry’s top award for cheese making excellence in this year’s competition.

Awards Master Judge Russell Smith said the standard of entries for New Zealand blue cheese is always high and this year was no exception. “New Zealand does blue cheese very well so there was a lot of competition, however Kikorangi had the winning edge.

“It ticked all the boxes for me as a supreme award winning cheese,” said Smith. “Kapiti Kikorangi has been brilliantly made to ensure the blue mould is evenly distributed throughout the cheese. The balance of acid and sweet has been mastered and as a result it presents a wonderful piquancy alongside a smooth creamy finish. It really is a stunning blue.”

Kapiti Kikorangi, the Maori word for ‘sky blue’, was first introduced in the early nineties at a time when specialty cheeses were relatively new to New Zealand. It found immediate popularity and is now one of New Zealand’s best known blue cheeses.

Fonterra Brands general manager of specialty cheese, Mark Bosomworth, said the company was proud that Kapiti Kikorangi was selected from hundreds of great speciality cheeses to take out the top honours this year.

“Kikorangi is made by the talented blue cheese making team at our factory in Eltham. It has the benefit of more than 50 years of expertise in making the best blues in the country.

“There’s something about the creamy mouth feel of Kapiti Kikorangi that sets it apart from all other contenders. It’s a great reflection of the dedication and passion our cheese makers have for their craft.”

In addition to the supreme award, Kapiti Kikorangi was singled out for the Champion Export Cheese Award, while Kapiti Ramara won the Champion Washed Rind Cheese category.  Kapiti Traditional Camembert was named the winner of the Champion New Cheese category and yet another Kapiti blue, Kapiti Kahurangi Creamy Blue, took out the Champion Original Cheese Award.

Other cheeses made by Fonterra Brands NZ received recognition with gold medal wins including Kapiti Tuteremoana Cheddar, Mainland Parmesan, Mainland Special Reserve Eltham Blue and Mainland Special Reserve Mint Haloumi.

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