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The Netherlands produces the world's best cheese09 March 2012, by James Shaw
On Wednesday night, the World Champion Cheese Contest produced a shock winner in their search to discover the best cheese in the world. They crowned a low-fat Gouda named Vermeer, from Friesland Campina, as champion, which fended off strong competition from traditional winners Switzerland.
Friesland Campina didn't even send a representative to the competition, such was their surprise, and the cheesemaker's plant manager, Piet Nederhoed, had to be woken up at 1am to be told the good news.
Critics lavished compliments on the Dutch entry. Dan Konz, a cheese grader from Minnesota, said the winning Vermeer stood out for its "nice, smooth, clean flavour. It had nice body and mouth-feel. A very clean taste."
The contest is held once every two years in Madison, USA, and features 2.500 entries from over 20 countries. There are subtle variations in cheese based on their region of origin, year of creation and the techniques employed by master craftsmen. Cheeses are judged for their flavour, texture, body and colour by world experts.
The Netherlands is famous for its Gouda cheese, a position that will only be enhanced by winning the world's top spot.
Photo by Flickr user eelke dekker
Of the finalists, seven were from the US, and five were from Switzerland, including the two runners-up; second-place Kaserei Grundbach, a company in Wattenwill that entered a smear-ripened semi-soft winner kase; and SO Appenzeller Kase of Appenzell which took third place with its Appenzeller cheese.