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Lactalis South Africa's 10-months Mature Gouda, made especially for Woolworths, was once again crowned the South African Dairy Product of the Year at the South African Dairy Awards, held on 26 March 2021 at Cavalli Estate near Stellenbosch.
This is the third time in a row that this particular product from Lactalis has scooped the Dairy Product of the Year accolade, an unrivalled achievement for the SA Dairy Championships, now in its 188th year of existence.
The Mature Gouda, an aromatic and full-flavoured cheese, was one of almost 900 dairy products from 68 producers that vied for the attention of the 60 judges. From the big number of entries, only eight were honoured with the Qualité mark of excellence and 106 – the winners in each championships class – were named SA Champion. Lactalis SA and Clover both walked off with two Qualité awards each.
“For a product to be chosen as Dairy Product of the Year in a competition of this nature is the dream of every cheesemaker,” says dairy expert and chief judge Alan Fourie. “That the honour befalls this year's winner of the prestigious title for the third time, is exceptional. The Woolworths 10-months Mature Gouda truly is a product that has stood the test of time, but also a proof of the continued use of excellent ingredients. Technically and gastronomically it is as close to perfection as a cheese product can come.”
Marek Warzywoda, general manager: Lactalis South Africa (LSA), says his team is overjoyed at having the choice Extra Mature Gouda named as the Product of the Year for an unprecedented third time. “In addition, this is also the fourth time we’ve claimed the overall top award in five years. Team LSA’s hard work, dedication and ambition to produce top quality products have once again paid off. We are immensely proud of our 2021 SA Dairy Championships performance.”
Qualité winners from the front, L to R: Donovan van Rooyen (Famous Brands), Johan Boshoff (Fair Cape Dairies), Juan de Bruin (Lactalis South Africa), Bruce Rowbotham (Fairview Cheese), Estelle du Preez (De Pekelaar) and Francois Colyn (Clover). Back L to R: Philip Hanekom (Lactalis South Africa), Dr. Tertius Cilliers (Synercore), Johan Ehlers (Agri-Expo) and Johan Rheeders (Lactalis South Africa)
2021 Qualité award winners
Clover (Frankfort) Mooi River Salted Butter Clover Salted Butter Mini Tubs
Lactalis South Africa (Ladismith) Woolworths Mature Gouda - 10 Months Matured Président Mature Gouda - 6 Months Matured
De Pekelaar Boerenkaas De Pekelaar Boerenkaas Old
Famous Brands Cheese Company Steers Processed Cream Cheese Spread - Onion and Chives
Fairview Cheese Company Woolworths Chevin with Garlic and Herb
The SA Dairy Championships has been presented by Agri-Expo since 1834. According to Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo, all the most important international dairy events worldwide were cancelled in 2020 and postponed in 2021.
"The South African Dairy Championships is in fact the only major dairy championships in the world that took place in 2020 and 2021. To make this possible, we had to adjust the judging process to two days and present the awards as a hybrid event," says Ehlers.
According to Ehlers, the large number of entries and extraordinary products entered this year are reasons to be optimistic about the future of the dairy industry in South Africa: “This year's results testify to an innovative industry and healthy competition between individuals, small and medium businesses, as well as national and international companies.”
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