Norway hosted international cheese makers’ equivalent of a “world championships” in Bergen over the weekend, after a Norwegian cheese won the biggest award in Spain two years ago. Norwegians won the top prize once again, after doing well at last year’s championships, too.
The awards have put Norway on the map for those who love cheese. Now there’s even a branch of “cheese tourism” in Norway, not least since the blue cheese known as Kraftkar, made in a small mountain village in western Norway, won top honours in 2016. Several cheeses from the same producer, Tingvollost in Nordmøre, also won prizes when the “World Cheese Awards” were held in London last year.
This year a total of 3,472 cheeses, 175 of them from Norway, competed at the World Cheese Awards in Bergen, and the locally made Fanaost won the top prize. All the judging is done by simply laying the cheese out anonymously on tables while experts evaluate them.
On Monday, reported TV2, the vast majority of the cheeses were simply being thrown out because of strict rules governing the contents of products from animals. If the cheese has come from outside the EU, it can’t be sold on, or served.
The Norwegian cheeses, however, didn’t have to be thrown out and were instead being handed out as taste samples and donated to local charities that offer services to the homeless.