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The ‘World’s Best’ Cheese Is British

Cornish Kern, a ‘medium-hard’ variety, is victorious at the World Cheese Awards in London

Catherine Mead of Lynher Dairies

After nearly 12 hours of tasting, Cornish Kern has been named the ‘World’s Best Cheese’ in this year’s World Cheese Awards. The Guild of Fine Foods announced the news from Taste of London at around 6.30pm on Friday night.

Eater London sources had speculated that a “semi-soft” number would be crowned 2017’s champion, given said variety “is absolutely in [vogue]”, yet Lynher Dairies’ 16-month matured cows’ milk cheese is in fact “medium-hard.”

The accolade is the West Country’s (of England) third win in just seven years. Cornish Kern follows Cornish Blue, which won in 2010, and Bath Blue, which trumped in 2014. This West Country microcosm highlights the shift towards a firmer, nuttier cheese.

Cornish Kern

Kern, which is described as “buttery, with a deep aroma and caramel notes,” means “round” in Cornish and is made by the makers of modern classic Cornish Yarg. It’s “rind-washed” — a fashionable production method right now — and coated in black wax. The cheese has been a long time coming. The dairy’s Catherine Mead started with a Gouda-style recipe before adding Alpine starter cultures.

The flavour is one that you might associate with Comté or Gruyère, according to sellers.

This year’s competition saw hundreds of cheeses from around the world judged at Tobacco Dock in London. The panel included famous faces from the world of cheese, including Sue Cloke, “aka the Duchess,” journalist Patrick McGuigan, and awards founder Bob Farrand.

McGuigan said: "This was the stand out cheese in the final. A cross between a Gouda and an Alpine, such as Comte, it has an amazingly long, balanced flavour. It's fruity caramel at the beginning, then you get hazelnuts, before going off into a big savoury, umami adventure. It's an absolute crackerjack of a cheese."