International Cheese Awards Press Release October 2017: Experiences of a Cheese Judge, Part Two!

Last month we heard from Tim, one of this year’s guest judges at The International Cheese Awards, who joined our team of more than 250 experts in judging our record-breaking 5685 entries in Nantwich in July. Now it’s the turn of Louise, our second guest judge, to tell us how she got on – read on for her story and to find out how you could be taking her place next year!

“I can’t begin to explain just how overexcited I was to be invited to be a cheese judge, going so far as to tell a couple of surprised recruiters about my upcoming day at a job interview.  I’d been to the International Cheese Awards on the public day in previous years and had been amazed that the modest-sounding cheese tent includes huge rooms dedicated purely to blue and soft cheeses. As a very enthusiastic cheese-eater the chance to try even a small selection of the competition cheese was wonderful, and I was pleased that my opinion as a member of the cheese-buying public could help to decide category winners.

I was grouped with two judges who both worked in the cheese industry, one was an experienced judge, whereas the other was a novice like me. We judged three categories, happily including the soft, unpasteurised raw milk category, which comprised such a wide variety of different cheese styles that it was effectively the ultimate cheeseboard. My fellow judges explained what qualities they look for with the assorted cheese styles to pick a winner. Despite my main criteria simply being ‘it tastes fantastic’, I managed to choose the same shortlist of cheeses as the professionals each time.

After the judging I had chance to sample some of the exhibitor’s cheeses before the Awards dinner, where we ate a delicious meal whilst the trophies were awarded. I was so proud of my new-found cheese knowledge and so covetous of the professional cheese grading irons that I found myself bidding on a set later that day, which could prove awkward at the supermarket.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it! If you’d like the chance to be a guest judge at next year’s International Cheese Awards, then keep your eyes peeled for our November competition – we’ll be asking you to nominate who you think should fill Tim and Louise’s shoes on Tuesday 24th July (and yes, you can nominate yourself…)

Gearing up for ICA 2018

Next year’s show is already in the planning stage – ICA2018 will take place on Tuesday 24th July (Trade, Judging and Press Day) and Wednesday 25th July (Show Day). For more details about how to get involved as an exhibitor or a sponsor contact, or email Liz at if you’d like to attend as press.

As ever, thank you in advance for any coverage you are able to give us, and please do follow us on Twitter @icheeseawards, Instagram @internationalcheeseawards, Facebook ( or LinkedIn ( ) for further news and updates!