Throughout NZ Cheese Month in October Kiwi cheese lovers were invited to vote for their favourite cheesemaker. There were votes for 44 different NZ cheese companies and by public vote the title went to Whitestone Cheese Co, the family-owned Oamaru cheese company which has been making cheese for more than 30 years.
Coincidentally, Whitestone Cheese is also a leading cheese retailer with its Whitestone Cheese Store attached to its Oamaru factory named as a Top NZ Cheese Store. Managing Director Simon Berry and the Oamaru team were delighted with the news that they had won for a second time. “It’s such a thrill for our family owned and operated company to be recognised this way once again, receiving this title twice in 4 years cements us as New Zealand’s favourite cheese company.”
This is the fourth year for the annual accreditation system which is organised and assessed by the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association in October to coincide with NZ Cheese Month.
There are now 18 retailers around the country that have been awarded the prestigious title of ‘Top NZ Cheese Store.’
Accreditation is made after a thorough evaluation by specialist food judges Kathy Paterson and Kerry Tyack. Kerry said; “cheese demands careful treatment that pays homage to the intricacies of its production. Delivering a range of cheese in the very best condition and in a way that recognises each style of cheese's special character is a complex business. It's so very heartening to see more effort being put into these aspects of cheese promotion and sale and its ultimate enjoyment.”
Announcing the Top NZ Cheese Stores for 2022 and 2023, NZSCA Chair, Catherine McNamara said the country’s cheesemakers are delighted to have these 18 stores recognised for their dedication to New Zealand cheese. “Cheesemakers are very passionate about their craft, so having the support of stores that share their knowledge and enthusiasm with cheese lovers all around the country is just wonderful.”
The Top NZ Cheese Stores 2022 and 2023 are:
Bay of Plenty