Some 14 Irish cheeses were honoured at the International Cheese Awards, which took place in the cheese marquee at the Nantwich and South Cheshire Show.

Organisers of the awards said they had their biggest year to date, receiving an all-time high of over 4,600 entries from 274 exhibitors. Representatives from 31 different countries entered the competition.

Irish cheeses won eight trophies, 19 gold medals, 17 silver medals, 17 bronze medals and eight very highly commended awards from the 200 judges.

Mossfield Organic Farm, based in Birr, Co Offaly, was awarded The Waitrose Trophy for ‘‘Best Cheese in Specialist Cheesemakers’’. Other trophies went to Kerry, Glanbia and Carrigaline Cheese.

Reacting to the award, Ralph Haslam of Mossfield Organic Farm, said he was delighted with it, as it was a great boost for the company.

"It's really helps to raise the profile of the business and will allow us to expand our product range even further."

In business since 2004, with a 110 dairy cow herd, Mossfield supplies its products all around the world, including to the UK, Holland, North America and Dubai.

Gold medals were awarded to Glanbia, Kerry, Ornua, Cahill’s Farm Cheese, Old Irish Creamery, Dairygold, Mossfield, Cashel Blue, Green Pastures and Carrigaline, while silver medals went to Glanbia, Kerry, Ornua, Carbery, Mossfield, Dairygold, Carrigaline, Green Pastures and the Tipperary Cheese Co.

Speaking after the awards, Eimear O’Donnell, Bord Bia’s consumer dairy manager, said: “Irish cheese consistently stands up when judged against our overseas counterparts and the industry’s awards haul this year vindicates that and recognises the individual producer’s input. Bord Bia is confident that the Irish dairy sector’s reputation in terms of sustainability, quality and innovation will ensure it succeeds internationally as it realises its potential following the lifting of dairy quotas.”

Export value of Irish cheese

The export value of Irish cheese grew by around 5% to reach over €175m in 2014. The UK accounts for close to 60% of cheese exports, while strong increases were evident to international markets such as Japan, the US and Saudi Arabia. In terms of farmhouse cheese, some 50 cheesemakers now produce more than 150 types of cheese. The sector has continued to experience recent export growth, targeting 25 markets worth approximately €5m.

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