THE World Cheese Awards, run by the Guild of Fine Food based at Gillingham, will not be taking place this year at Ovideo in the Spanish province of Asturias. The competition has been postponed to 2021, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Guild has decided to extend Oviedo’s tenure as host city into 2021, and the 33rd edition of the awards are now planned to take place between 3rd and 6th November at Oviedo’s Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos, as part of the Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival 2021.
The decision was taken, after months of discussions between the Guild, the Principality of Asturias, the City Council of Oviedo and the Instituto del Queso, in order to ensure the safety of judges, organisers and the general public, while preserving the unique nature of the competition and allowing the region to make the most of its moment in the global spotlight. With judges from more than 30 different countries, cheese from six continents and followers from every corner of the planet, Oviedo will be at the centre of the cheese world for four days.
John Farrand, the Guild managing director, said: “It saddens me deeply to make this announcement, at a time when artisan cheesemakers could do with a lift, but looking at the bigger picture we’ve had to consider what’s best for our hosts, the competition itself and by extension, the cheesemakers that rely on it to place their products on a world stage.”
Luisa Villegas, managing director of Instituto del Queso, organisers of the International Cheese Festival, said: “We’ll be doing everything we can to keep the festival flame alive and have big plans for the coming months, aimed at contributing to the economic recovery of the agri-food sector. We have a year to work together for the good of Asturias, for the economic and social recovery that all business and production sectors need so much. We must take advantage of this opportunity.”