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Sonntag's 'Cumin Gouda Style' Crowned Supreme Winner at NZ Vegan Cheese Awards 2023!

New Zealand's love for cheese knows no bounds, and now, with the rapidly growing popularity of plant-based options, there are growing vegan choices. The NZ Vegan Society's prestigious awards for excellence in vegan food production has announced the best vegan cheese in the country for 2023.


The event, held at Khu Khu Eatery in Auckland, showcased an impressive array of plant-based cheeses across various categories. From commercial and artisan cheddars to mozzarella, feta, cream cheese, and more, the awards encompassed an extensive selection of dairy-free cheese alternatives appealing to the Kiwi palate.


Judges included notable mainstream Chefs and food industry figures.

Source: NZ Vegan Society - Judges and tasting samples.


Taking centre stage, Supreme champion Sonntag's "Cumin Gouda Style" vegan cheese. The judges' unanimous praise described the cheese as "firm and dense with wonderful balanced flavour, perfectly complemented by the cumin, and boasting a brilliant texture."

Sonntag's Gouda style  cumin seed vegan cheese

Source: sonntag,nz


Amidst the celebrations, one brand managed to steal the spotlight across multiple categories. Savour, a prominent vegan cheese producer, demonstrated their exceptional craftsmanship and culinary mastery by scooping the pool of category winners and runners-up. Notably, Savour's "Chipotle emerged as the champion in the Flavoured Cheese category, impressing the judges with its well-balanced and unique chipotle flavour, which didn't overpower the palate and provided a perfect balance.

Savour's Chipotle soft cheese

Source: Savour - Chipotle soft cream cheese


Additionally, Savour's "Ash" and "Mint" received recognition as Joint Runners Up in the Flavoured Cheese category. The former garnered praise for its good sharpness and the ash that gave it an appealing aftertaste and visually captivating colour. The latter, "Mint," was celebrated for its fluffy texture and refreshing taste, making it an ideal dessert cheese and a perfect accompaniment to sautéed peas or green pea soup.


The much coveted Cream Cheese category was taken out by Christchurch's Grater Good's ‘Garlic and Herb’. Judges saying its flavour was robust with airy, fluffy, creamy texture. Eaten on its own or with crackers. A unique tangy flavour.

Grater Goods Cream Cheese

Source: Grater Goods -Cream Cheese


As NZ supermarkets report steady sales of plant-based products, the demand for vegan cheese alternatives to dairy remains unabated. Furthermore, the increasing parity in price between dairy and vegan alternatives bodes well for the future of plant-based cheeses in New Zealand.


The Vegan Cheese Awards 2023 not only recognised outstanding vegan cheese producers but also acts as a platform for informing the public about the best vegan cheese offerings available in the market.


The future looks bright for the world of plant-based cheeses, with more options available to the conscious Kiwi consumer than ever before.


For more information CLICK HERE


Full list of winners:

Supreme Winner Winner; Sonntag ‘Cumin Gouda Style’

Judges said; Firm and dense with wonderful balanced flavour, perfectly complemented by the cumin. Brilliant texture.

Commercial Cheddar

Winner; Epic ‘Smoked Cheddar’

Judges said; Lovely after taste nice neutral flavour which could contrast with anything.

Runner Up; Angel Food ‘Smoked Cheddar’

Judges said; Stand out creamy texture and lovely taste.

Flavoured Cheese

Winner Savour ‘Chipotle’

Judges said; Good flavour. Unique flavour- chipotle not overpowering- a good balance.

Joint Runners Up

Savour ‘Ash’

Judges said; Good sharpness. Ash gives a good aftertaste and appealing colour.

Savour ‘Mint’

Judges said; A good dessert cheese. Good fluffy texture, great accompaniment to sautéed peas or green pea soup. A refreshing cheese.

Mozzarella

Winner; Nu Dairy

Judges said; Stand out taste- clean fresh flavour. Stretch and elasticity perfect for pizza.

Runner Up: Zenzo

Judges said; Great on pizza with good colour and stretch.

Surface Ripened

Winner Savour ‘Cashbert’

Judges said; Creamy texture with a good aftertaste.

Runner Up; Let Them Eat Vegan; ‘Creamy Camembert

Judges said; Firm yet creamy texture with good melt

Feta

Winner; Zenzo

Judges said; Very tasty, with well-balanced salt. Texture is firm and creamy.

Runner Up; One Love Planet ‘The Greek’

Judges said; Unique tangy flavour. Very summery, fresh balanced cheese.

Cream Cheese

Winner; Grater Goods ‘Garlic and Herb’.

Judges said; Flavour robust with airy, fluffy, creamy texture. Eaten on its own or with crackers. A unique tangy flavour.

Joint Runners Up:

Angel Food ‘Cream Cheese’

Judges said; Great, authentic tasty cream cheese. Taste and texture are moreish.

Nu Dairy ‘Cream Cheese’

Judges said; Texture spreadable. Great accompaniment to jam on a bagel..

Soft Cheese

Winner; Savour ‘Chipotle’

Judges said; You can taste every flavour. They are balanced yet they stand out individually. Presentation is beautiful. Looks good on a cheese board.

Runner Up; High Culture ‘Buche Provençal Garlic and Fine Herb’

Judges said; Achieved good appearance and flavour. Moreish and rich. Balanced acidity and salt with the right amount of herbs.

Gouda

Winner; Sonntag ‘Cumin Gouda Style’

Judges said; Firm and dense with wonderful balanced flavour, perfectly complemented by the cumin. Brilliant texture.

Runner Up; One Love Planet ‘Smoked Gaudi’

Judges said; Great bite. Rich cheese offset with a dusting of spice.

Artisan Cheddar

Winner; One Love Planet “Drunken Irish Cheddar”

Judges said; Lovely sharp flavours well balanced and tasty

No Runner Up

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