Tuesday, 14 May 2024 09:55

Lang is top cheesemaker, again!

Written by  Staff Reporters
Fonterra’s Cathy Lang is the 2024 MilkTestNZ Champion Cheesemaker of the Year. Fonterra’s Cathy Lang is the 2024 MilkTestNZ Champion Cheesemaker of the Year.

Fonterra Brands' Cathy Lang has been crowned the country's best cheesemaker for the second time in three years.

Lang is the co-operative brands business master cheesemaker and principal technologist at the FBNZ Bridge Street site in Eltham, Taranaki.

She told Dairy News that winning the MilkTest NZ Champion Cheesemaker title at the annual NZ Champions of Cheese awards this month is not just a personal milestone "but a recognition of the collective passion and hard work of our entire team".

"It's about the art of crafting cheese that resonates with both the judges and cheese lovers alike. I look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of cheesemaking."

To win the coveted title each cheesemaker entered three cheeses of different styles showing their cheesemaking breadth. Lang showed Kapiti Artisan Ash Rind White, Kapiti Artisan Bridge St Blue and Kapiti Rarama.

She made a remarkable transition into cheesemaking in 2005 after two decades in veterinary science. Her success is a testament to her ability to blend cheesemaking science with creativity. Since joining Fonterra in 2014 Lang has been instrumental in driving its NZ specialty cheese development, with her dedication to excellence consistently recognised with numerous national and international accolades.

At the awards, Fonterra also cemented its position as the country's number one cheesemaker by picking up nine NZ Champion of Cheese trophies this year.

Fonterra's NZMP Epicure also sold as Mainland Epicure aged cheddar - took the title of Woolworths Champion of Champions (Commercial). The judges described this as, "Beautiful! An abundance of calcium lactate, intense good string mature flavour yet well balanced, and clean. Pleasurable savoury tone, with fruity, sweet and nutty alongside."

The country's second largest milk processor Open Country Dairy received the Woolworths Sustainability Award, assessed by a panel who reviewed cheese companies' sustainability initiatives, with a focus on production. The judging panel noted Open Country demonstrated a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with sustainable cheese production.

The judges stated, "We were particularly impressed by the company's initiatives to addresses decarbonisation within their value chain and commended Open Country's decision to phase out coal boilers and use renewable energy."

At the annual awards, 26 trophy winners were announced following an extensive evaluation in early March assessing more than 250 locally produced cheeses, with the finest 187 already honoured with gold, silver and bronze medals.

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