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Emmanuelle and Stephen from George & Joseph Cheesemongers with their award

We won the People's Choice Award at the Affineur of The Year competition!

What is an Affineur I hear you cry! 

Affinage is the art and skill of refining a young cheese to maturity, developing flavours and textures along the way.  An affineur is someone who practices affinage.

We were invited last year by the Academy of Cheese to take part in their Affineur of the Year competition.  The challenge was to take charge of the maturation of some classic British cheeses, with an opportunity to put our own twist on them.  As a team we had little experience in affinage, but we decided to jump in, learn and see what we could do.

Cheesemonger Emmanuelle took charge of the challenge for us. We were given some *very* young Fen Farm Dairy Baron Bigod (5 days old) and Cropwell Bishop Creamery Stilton (2 weeks old). Emmanuelle decided to wash the Baron Bigod with Horsforth Brewery Nightcrawler Stout. She also - after some experimentation with the rest of the G&J team - decided to inject some Moscato d’Asti into the Stilton after she had pierced it.

We travelled to London for the final judging with our precious cheeses. We were on tenterhooks as she cut into the cheeses at the ceremony, it was the first time we'd seen inside the cheeses and had an opportunity to taste them. The relief was palpable as we discovered blue veining in the Stilton, and found both cheeses had great flavours, textures and aromas.

It was wonderful to see all the other competitor's cheeses and to discover what they had done to mature theirs. The variety was amazing.

We were gobsmacked to be awarded the People’s Choice gong for our beer washed Baron Bigod.

Here were the other category winners:

Quicke's Cheddar by Andy from The Courtyard Dairy

Cropwell Bishop by James & Justin from No. 2 Pound Street

Baron Bigod - and overall winner - Perry from Rennet and Rind

Thanks to The Academy of Cheese for putting together such an amazing event and to all the sponsors, cheesemakers and cheese fans who we met along the way.

We were honoured to be amongst such a group of cheese legends, and we'll be back again next year!

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