Affordable goat’s cheese from Jaén wins prestigious world cheese competition

by Lorraine Williamson
winning cheese

ANDALUCIA – The goat’s cheese ‘Olavidia‘, produced by the cheese factory Quesos y Besos (Cheeses and Kisses), located in the Spanish municipality of Guarromán in the Andalucian province of Jaén, can call itself the best in the world since Wednesday. 

The goat cheese was chosen as the winner of the 33rd edition of the World Cheese Awards (WCA) 2021. The event took place in Oviedo on Wednesday. It was the best 16 that made it to the grand final. Just over 4,000 varieties from 48 countries and five continents initially competed for the honorary title. 

International cheese competition 

The jury of the world’s most prestigious international cheese competition consisted of 240 experts from various countries. Of the more than four thousand varieties submitted this year, 88 were first selected as ‘Super Gold’. Then 16 jury members selected the 16 finalists. However, after two hours of deliberation, the winner was announced at the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones in Oviedo. And Olavidia won with 103 points, five more than the number two.  

Olavidia cheese is made by the young company Quesos y Besos -it opened its doors in 2017- in a completely artisanal way from soft pasteurised goat’s milk. Furthermore, the oldest form of fermentation is used for this; the cheese is made with the lactic acid bacteria present in milk. Moreover, this type of bacteria acts on lactose (milk sugar) and breaks it down into lactic acid. 

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Soft and special 

Olavidia is a soft, square cheese that matures for 15 to 20 days with mould and charcoal, which gives it a very special flavour. There is a layer of ash under the white mould, and a line of edible ash in the middle.  

The cheese has an intense taste with predominantly milky notes and a hint of dried fruit. It comes in units of about 250-300 grams. However, once opened, it should be consumed within 3-4 days as it contains no additives or preservatives. Furthermore, the world’s tastiest cheese is around just €10. 

Happy winners 

Surprisingly, only six people work in the factory Quesos y Besos, whose founders, the couple Silvia and Paco, had no words to express how happy they were when they received the award: ‘It’s fantastic! Our families have been working with goat’s milk for generations. They sell the milk and make goat cheese. It´s a family tradition that we, as a young couple, have inherited, driven by the love of the countryside and artisanal products,’ say Silvia and Paco on the website Quesos y Besos. 

 

 

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