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Snowdrop cheese from Market Rasen based Cote Hill Dairy named Supreme Champion at British Cheese Awards in Bath





A Lincolnshire cheesemaker says it’s a dream come true to win the title of Supreme Champion at the 28th British Cheese Awards.

Snowdrop – a new mould-ripened fresh cheese – made by Michael and Mary Davenport, of Cote Hill Dairy, near Market Rasen, has beaten more than 600 cheeses from across the UK and Ireland to take the top title at the event held at the Bath and West Showground, in Somerset.

Launched just over a year ago, Snowdrop was named in honour of Cynthia Davenport, who started the dairy at Cote Hill, as these were her favourite flower found growing around the farm.

Artisan cheese makers, Cote Hill Cheese manufacture award winning cheeses, using milk from their own herd, at the farm in Osgodby, near Market Rasen in Linconshire. Photo: Cote Hill Dairy
Artisan cheese makers, Cote Hill Cheese manufacture award winning cheeses, using milk from their own herd, at the farm in Osgodby, near Market Rasen in Linconshire. Photo: Cote Hill Dairy

Soft, smooth and velvety, Snowdrop is a raw cow’s milk cheese, similar in style to a French St Felicien, and varies throughout the seasons as the pastures change.

“As a small producer, we are delighted and honoured to be recognised with this prestigious award,” said Mary Davenport, of Cote Hill. “It was a huge surprise and totally unexpected as winning Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards is a cheesemaker’s dream.

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“Here at Cote Hill, we are amazed that such a small cheese should achieve such a prestigious award.”

Snowdrop by Cote Hill named British Cheese Awards Supreme Champion. Photo: Joe Breakwell/The Royal Bath and West Society
Snowdrop by Cote Hill named British Cheese Awards Supreme Champion. Photo: Joe Breakwell/The Royal Bath and West Society

The Davenport family say their ethos is simple; contented grazing cows produce amazing quality milk, which combined with skill and expertise creates great-tasting cheese.

The morning milk at Cote Hill Farm is taken direct from the cows to the cheese rooms, where it’s handcrafted in a range of award-winning cheeses – including Cote Hill Blue, Cote Hill Yellow and Cote Hill Red. By not pasteurising the milk, the Davenports say it allows its full complex flavour to be part of the finished product.

As well as selling their cheese online and supplying shops, wholesalers and restaurants the Davenport’s also sell their produce at their own self service farm shop – The Cheese Shed – at Cote Hill Farm.

Organised by The Royal Bath and West Society, the British Cheese Awards involved a 63-strong judging panel made up of cheesemakers, cheesemongers, cheese experts, buyers and commentators assessing entries in their individual classes during the morning session, awarding bronze, silver and gold accolades.

During the second round, all gold award winners from each category were judged alongside one another to identify the category winners, before these were judged in the final round to find this year’s Supreme Champion and Reserve Champion.

British Cheese Awards judging 2024. Photo: Joe Breakwell/The Royal Bath and West Society
British Cheese Awards judging 2024. Photo: Joe Breakwell/The Royal Bath and West Society

Hosted for the first time by the new Bath and West Food and Drink Festival, the British Cheese Awards also invited festival visitors to sample some of this year’s entries over the course of the weekend and to cast their votes in the People’s Choice Award.

Julius Longman, chairman of the British Cheese Awards, said: “It was fantastic to be back at the Bath and West Showground, and to have another Supreme Champion to share with the world.

“Snowdrop is a perfect example of the innovation and excellence in cheesemaking that is thriving in Britain and Ireland right now, alongside our world class traditional cheeses.

“The British Cheese Awards is a wonderful coming together of the nation’s cheese community and we were delighted to welcome the public into the judging hall over the course of the new Food & Drink Festival. Having showcased hundreds of diverse cheeses from across the UK and Ireland, we hope to have inspired some of the cheesemakers and mongers of tomorrow!"

All trophies were awarded during the British Cheese Awards Dinner on Friday, March 22, with the Reserve Champion cup going to Cashel Blue from Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers, which also won Best Irish Cheese. Best English Cheese was Tor from White Lake Cheese, Best Scottish Cheese was Minger from Highland Fine Cheese and Best Welsh Cheese went to Gafr Las from Bryngaer Goats.

To find out more about Cote Hill visit cotehill.com

What do you think is the best cheese? Share your views in the comments.



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