Stink brews over NZ blue cheese

Last updated 09:50 29/03/2009
CREATING A STINK: Just which is New Zealand's best blue cheese?

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Sacre Bleu! There's a right royal stink brewing at the house of Windsor.

Windsor Blue, that is, the artisan fromage produced by family-run company Whitestone Cheese.

The Oamaru-based business is, well, cheesed off with Fonterra, after the corporate giant claimed its Kapiti Kikorangi was the country's most-awarded blue cheese.

Gina Klarwill, senior brand manager, says Fonterra is standing by that title despite evidence from Whitestone that its blue has won five more gongs than its rival.

"It's based on results from the Cuisine Champions of Cheese Awards, which were instigated in 2004 by the NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Association," Klarwill says.

"These are the only national awards for excellence in cheesemaking and are considered the industry benchmark."

Bob Berry, Whitestone Cheese founder, says Fonterra has a short memory. While the awards are only a few years old, a national competition has been in place since 1994.

"I think it's quite simple. What they're saying is let's forget the first half and start again. But good things take time and good cheeses have long memories."

Earlier this month, Kapiti Kikorangi took out the champion cheese export award for the second year running. Both brands have had their moment in the international spotlight.

Kikorangi is the cheese of choice at Antarctica's Scott Base.

Windsor Blue has graced tables at the Playboy mansion and the cast parties of American television show Scrubs.

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