Looking for the Affineur of the Year

A NEW competition to find the Affineur of the Year competition has been launched by Devon-based cheesemaker, Quicke’s, and the Academy of Cheese, to help celebrate the age-old art of maturing cheese and guiding it to its full potential.

Eight three-month matured 27kg truckles of Quicke’s cheddar are now in place at maturing rooms across the country, where they will stay under the care of the competitors for the duration of the competition. After nine months of turning, tweaking and grading, as each Cheddar reacts to the specific temperature, humidity levels and unique microflora within its cheese store, the eight truckles will be judged by a panel of industry experts in February 2022.

The competitors in the inaugural Affineur of the Year competition are: Brindisa, Buchanans Cheesemonger,
Cheese Plus, Heritage Cheese, Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, Neal’s Yard Dairy, No2 Pound Street and
Paxton & Whitfield.

This respected line-up of cheesemongers and cheesemakers will bring their experience to bear, using a combination of science and artistry honed over many decades. The cheeses will be graded, with grading sheets shared online., The final judging will include flavour, aroma, texture, appearance and innovation.

Mary Quicke says: “The art of the affineur is perhaps the most underappreciated aspect of artisan cheesemaking, so we’re delighted to be launching a competition that’s dedicated to them. We know from experience that the hard work of our farmers and cheesemakers can be elevated or squandered in the maturing rooms, so it’s incredibly exciting to be packing our cheddar off to such a diverse range of cheese businesses across the country.”

Tracey Colley, director of the Academy of Cheese, agrees: “We owe so much of the recent British cheese renaissance to their skills and expertise. Time is the secret ingredient in so many great cheeses and the affineur has the all-important role of making sure that those weeks and months in the maturing rooms are put to good use!”

The Affineur of the Year 2022 competition will be judged on Thursday 24th February 2022 at a live consumer and trade event, hosted by Quicke’s and the Academy of Cheese.