Written by Staff Writer at CNN
The Kühl Cheddars , which are considered the world’s best cheese — or at least the best in Switzerland — have been crowned the winner for the 2021 edition of the World Cheese Awards .
The revolutionary wheels of cheese were commissioned by a watchmaker in the small Swiss village of Kühl in 1993 — after an auction saw the collection of 14 abandoned cheeses destroyed by their owners — in a bid to help regenerate their declining village.
The Kühl Cheddars are composed of aged cheese covered in more than 75 percent Parmigiano Reggiano. The basis of the cheese is Parmigiano-Reggiano, with 40 percent ash, and 30 percent ash.
The cheese’s winning award shows the Kühl Cheddars are at the top of their class. Credit: Kuehl
They now sell to American, UK, Canadian and Australian retailers and health food stores across the world, and are listed in around half a million cookbooks across the world.
There are more than 150 dairy products competing for the prize, which celebrates excellence in the cheese field. Over 300,000 people tuned in to watch the final that took place in Naples, Italy on August 11 and featured 20 finalists from around the world.
Cheesemaker Franco Rizzo, who was one of the finalists at the World Cheese Awards in Naples, Italy, last month. Credit: AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Since the 1993 invention of the Kühl Cheddars, locals of Kühl have adopted the cheese as their own and farmers in the area have started combining its quality with organic milk, making a more flavorful cheese than before.
They have produced similar cheese in the same region for two decades now, but when the World Cheese Awards were first held in Venice in 2011, they were completely unrecognized in Swiss Dairy.
But Franco Rizzo, one of the judges at the World Cheese Awards, and a cheesemaker for many years, was convinced to make the new cheese. He took to the creative, tradition and pride of making cheese with a team of celebrated cheesemakers, to win the award.
“It would be impossible for them to find another cheese of their quality, since this is the most prestigious competition in this profession, so our prize is worth more than ever,” he told CNN.
Other finalists at the 2017 World Cheese Awards. Credit: Courtesy dafrost/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
“The 2017 edition was so extraordinary, because the whole world was watching the cheese.”
The winning cheese now resides in a Swiss museum.