Trying the best cheese in the world

Trying the best cheese in the world

The top cheese experts across the globe have deliberated and they have spoken. The best cheese in the world right now is a delicate goat’s cheese and hails from a small artisan producer in Spain. It also beat a French heavyweight into second place. 

Olavidia was named World Champion Cheese at the World Cheese Awards back in November 2021. The cheese triumphed over 4,000 entries from more than 40 countries. Cheeses are judged on their taste, texture, appearance, smell and rind. They are then awarded either Bronze, Silver, Gold or Super Gold. The Super Gold cheeses go on to be judged by a special jury who decide which cheese will be crowned the overall winner. Olavidia scored 103, narrowly beating the French Epoisses Berthaut Perrière into second place with 98 votes. 

Olavidia is a soft goat’s cheese matured with olive stone ash and penicillium candidum mould. It’s aged for between 15 and 20 days. The cheese is no stranger to accolades, winning best Spanish Cheese in 2018. However, this latest honour has propelled the cheesemakers to new heights. I ordered Olavidia back in November, not long after it won the award, and it quickly sold out everywhere. I only managed to get my hands on the cheese a few weeks ago.

The World Cheese Awards was founded by the Guild of Fine Food in 1988. Run every year, it champions small independent producers of cheese across the globe. Olavidia is no exception to this. The cheese is produced entirely by hand by Quesos y Besos (which translates to Cheeses and Kisses). The small family-run business employees six people and is based in the Andalusian town of Guarromán, Spain.

The award for Best British Cheese went to the fabulous Gorwydd Caerphilly which came in 7th place overall. A fantastic achievement for the Somerset-based Trethowan brothers. I featured this as my cheese of the month back in November. If you haven’t sought out this cheese yet, I would highly recommend that you do. It makes for a fantastic accompaniment to any cheeseboard and is great to cook with too. 

Drinks pairings

Looking for a wine pairing for Olavidia? The fruity notes in Sauvignon Blanc would work well. A citrusy Sancerre is another great choice. But if you want something special, and you want to match the cheese with a Spanish drink, then Cava is the perfect option. 

Looking for a different Spanish pairing? Why not try sherry? A bone dry fino would be a good match as it would work well with the creaminess of the cheese. For beer options, you want something that will complement the cheese’s delicate flavour. A light pilsner, pale ale or wheat beer would be the perfect option. For a good non-alcoholic alternative, why not opt for a cloudy apple juice. 

The cheese tasting

We really enjoyed this cheese. It’s so delicate and buttery, with a nice hint of the charcoal flavour. It’s quite mild for a goat’s cheese and not sour like some of them can be. 

It’s visually appealing, with the striking black vein running down the centre. The texture is perfect, almost mousse-like. The rind was very pleasant and the cheese underneath had become deliciously gooey.

It paired perfectly with the fizz. We didn’t have any Cava in the house, so we matched this with a very special Crémant d’Alsace. The cheese really brought out grape and apple flavours in the fizz. The creaminess of the Olavidia cut through the dryness of the Crémant. The bubbles with the mousse-like texture of the cheese were bliss.

I wouldn’t even recommend a recipe for this cheese, it demands to be appreciated in its own right. Select a special drinks pairing, invite some good friends round, and enjoy. If you do manage to get hold of this wonderful delicate cheese, I’d love to know what you think of it. It really is world class. 

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