BORDER and North East producers have made the grade in the 2019 Australian Grand Dairy Awards.
South Albury dairy producer, The Riverina Dairy, was a national finalist for its Riverina Dairy Basil Haloumi in the flavoured cheese category.
Praised for its light-yellow appearance that contrasts with freshly-dried basil, The Riverina Dairy’s Basil Haloumi won a gold medal at the NSW state awards earlier this year to qualify for the national awards.
Gundowring Fine Foods Licorice Ice Cream is a finalist in the ice cream category of the national awards.
The Australian Grand Dairy Awards are the highest accolade for Australian dairy producers.
More than 400 products across 19 categories were put to the taste-test by a 12-strong judging panel of cheese buyers, cheesemongers, chefs and technical experts, led by chief judge, Russell Smith, and included US-based specialty cheese buyer, Mariah Christensen, and renowned Australian cheesemonger, Sonia Cousins.
The Riverina Dairy chief executive Franck Beaurain said the awards were judged by some of the most respected food critics in the country.
“To be named a finalist, you know that you’re looking at a pretty special product,” he said.
“I actually studied medical science in France, but I moved to the dairy industry because I like food as well – balancing food and science has made the job as a cheesemaker enjoyable.”
Riverina Dairy runs its own dairy herd to produce milk for its South Albury factory just 70 kilometres away.
Australian Grand Dairy Awards Convener – Dairy Australia, Alexandra Kury, said the awards not only celebrated Australia’s finest dairy produce, but importantly, they acknowledged the achievements of the pioneering people, such as Franck and Riverina Dairy, who passionately dedicated their time to our industry.
“The calibre of this year’s entries are the best we’ve seen in the Australian Grand Dairy Awards’ 20-year history, which is a testament to the world-class dairy producers we have here in our own backyard,” he said.
Online voting is now open for the People’s Choice Award at peopleschoiceaward.legendairy.com.au.
Your vote could also win a year’s worth of cheese.
The 54 finalists now await the Champion announcement in February when the top product in each category will be revealed and the overall dairy and cheese Grand Champions will be crowned.