Mould-ripened 'Snowdrop' cheese that is only made in batches of 60 named the best at the British Cheese Awards

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By Madison Burgess

Published: 07:47 EDT, 3 April 2024 | Updated: 07:48 EDT, 3 April 2024

A Lincolnshire-based cheesemaker's 'dream has come true' after her small mould-ripened fresh cheese called Snowdrop was named Supreme Champion at the 28th prestigious British Cheese Awards.

Made by Mary and Michael Davenport at Cote Hill Dairy Lincolnshire, the cheese took the top prize in a field of over 600 entries from across the UK and Ireland, beating all competitors. 

The ceremony was held at the Bath & West Showground in Somerset at the end of March, as part of the new Bath & West Food & Drink Festival.

Snowdrop was launched just over a year ago and the cheese was named in honour of Cynthia Davenport, who started the dairy at Cote Hill, as snowdrops were her favourite flower found growing around the farm.

The cheese is made in batches of just 60 at a time, and sells for £6.50.

Soft, smooth, and velvety, Snowdrop is a raw cow's milk cheese, similar in style to a French St Felicien, and will vary throughout the seasons as the pastures change. 

A Lincolnshire-based cheesemaker's 'dream has come true' after her small mould-ripened fresh cheese called Snowdrop was named Supreme Champion at the 28th prestigious British Cheese Awards

Mrs Davenport said: 'As a small producer, we are delighted and honoured to be recognised with this prestigious award. 

'It was a huge surprise and totally unexpected as winning Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards is a cheesemaker's dream. 

'Here at Cote Hill, we are amazed that such a small cheese should achieve such a prestigious award.'

All trophies were awarded during the British Cheese Awards Dinner on the evening of Friday 22 March, with the Reserve Champion cup going to Cashel Blue from Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers, which also won Best Irish Cheese. 

Best English Cheese went to Tor from White Lake Cheese, Best Scottish Cheese went to Minger from Highland Fine Cheese and Best Welsh Cheese went to Gafr Las from Bryngaer Goats. 

Julius Longman, chairman of the British Cheese Awards, commented: 'It was fantastic to be back at the Bath & West Showground, and to have another Supreme Champion to share with the world. 

'Snowdrop is a perfect example of the innovation and excellence in cheesemaking that is thriving in Britian and Ireland right now, alongside our world-class traditional cheeses. 

'The British Cheese Awards is a wonderful coming together of the nation's cheese community and we were delighted to welcome the public into the judging hall over the course of the new Food & Drink Festival. 

Snowdrop was launched just over a year ago and the cheese was named in honour of Cynthia Davenport, who started the dairy at Cote Hill, as snowdrops were her favourite flower found growing around the farm

'Having showcased hundreds of diverse cheeses from across the UK and Ireland, we hope to have inspired some of the cheesemakers and mongers of tomorrow!'

Organised by The Royal Bath & West Society, the awards saw a 63-strong judging panel made up of cheesemakers, cheesemongers, cheese experts, buyers and commentators assessing entries.

In their individual classes during the morning session, they awarded Bronze, Silver, and Gold accolades. 

During the second round, all Gold award winners from each category were judged alongside one another to identify the category winners, before all category winners were judged in the final round to find this year’s Supreme Champion and Reserve Champion.

Hosted for the first time by the new Bath & West Food & Drink Festival, the British Cheese Awards invited festival visitors to sample some of this year’s entries over the course of the weekend and to cast their votes in the People’s Choice Award.

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