Written by By Nick Tollett, CNN
In the leading light is a European spread known as cream, with Melange from France topping the poll. Melange dates back to the Middle Ages, when cheese was made out of goat’s milk and whipped with fresh cheesecloth.
The fancy-sounding name comes from a French combination of the German words mare (milk) and malt (milk), an Eastern variation of the French word maltiere (milk-based) or rustique (milk-based), according to Grüner Domaine Agência de Paillard, the home of Melange.
The poll includes 159 of the world’s best cheese. Credit: © BRAMPA/REX/Shutterstock/REX/Shutterstock
In second place comes French cheese Bordelaise. Eight of the top 10 spots are taken by European cheeses, which saw this region dominate the survey. The only non-European is the Swiss cheese Pommes d’Alsace — but this cheese is the only food group that won’t see its recipe evolve to meet the needs of a changing world.
Dog’s tongues and rooster’s feet: best cheese in the world?
Last year’s poll, “World’s Best Cheese,” comprised 1,829 entries from around the world. But it’s been designed so that most of this year’s cream-based cheese is still available for consumption, giving more flexibility to consumers.
However, there is some confusion over the list. While it carries some claim to being the leading ranking of cheeses, only 12% of it is available in the United States. In addition, so-called “super cheeses” — such as Emmental, Camembert, Gruyère and Gruyère — only made up 17% of entries. This suggests that there may still be room for the cheese that caught your eye.
Turning up the heat
The cheeses won over the judging panel using a number of criteria: how well it’s maintained, aged over the year, how distinctive its flavor is and what’s the most used method of processing it.
The goal of the award is to raise the profile of fine artisanal cheese making. Credit: REX/Shutterstock/REX/Shutterstock
While most entries are traditional, some are unusual, elegant and excellent. Brie Jamour, whose cows graze in the breathtaking folds of the Grandes Langues, whose cows graze in the breathtaking folds of the Grandes Langues, is the finest example of the Les Grandes Collines Brie tradition, according to international cheese-judging powerhouses Wieden+Kennedy and The University of Oregon.
Wieden+Kennedy’s executive partner, Paul Hurst, an expert on cheeses and shortbread, hopes that the award will help bring greater awareness to this “intimate, artisanal, and very special type of cheese making.”
“We think that this knowledge will create a challenge, and spread the knowledge, to fund sustainable artisanal cheese-making for years to come.”