Niseko Cheese Factory’s ‘Niseko Momiji’ wins Super Gold Award at World Cheese Awards

Dec. 4, 2021
Kondo Hiroshi expresses his delight while holding the results sheet from the contest. The cheeses are, from left to right, Niseko Kaede × Tsukiura Wine, Niseko Momiji, and Niseko Konayuki

‘Niseko Momiji,’ a product of Niseko Cheese Factory, a cheese manufacturer and retailer in the town of Niseko, won the Super Gold Award on November 3 at the World Cheese Awards, an international cheese contest held in Oviedo, Spain. The cheese, which is matured for two years, has a characteristically profound, savory flavor. It is the first time a Hokkaido cheese factory has won the award.

This year, 4,079 products from 45 countries were entered into the 33rd World Cheese Awards, one of the world’s largest and most influential cheese contests, which is organized by a British company. During the judging, the cheeses were randomly divided onto 88 tables, and gold, silver and bronze awards were determined for each table. In many cases, more than one cheese received the gold award on each table and, of these, the ones with the highest ratings received the Super Gold Award.

This time, two of the Super Gold Award winners were from Japan: the one from the Niseko Cheese Factory and one more from a factory in Nagano prefecture. In the past, too, there has only ever been one more Super Gold Award winning cheese from Japan – this time making it at total of three.

Niseko Cheese Factory submitted five products this time, and three of them won awards. ‘Niseko Momoji’ is made by maturing locally produced unpasteurized milk with the fat removed and maturing it for two years to enhance the strength of the ‘umami’ (savory) components. It is said to have a flavor that complements Japanese food. In addition, the Gouda-type ‘Niseko Kaede × Tsukiura Wine,’ on which the dregs of red wine produced by a winery in the town of Toyako in the Iburi region are sprinkled during the initial maturing process before being matured again, won the Silver Award. The Bronze Award went to ‘Niseko Konayuki,’ a dessert-like cheese dressed with spices and candied orange.

This is the second time since 2019 that the Niseko Cheese Factory has participated in these awards, and two of its products won the Bronze Award last time.

The factory is always reviewing its manufacturing methods and looking for ways to improve the quality of its products, including those that received awards. Kondo Hiroshi, CEO and cheesemaker at the factory, says “We want consumers to know that Japanese cheeses are on par with those of the rest of the world.” Although Niseko Momiji was not selected from the among the Super Gold Award winners to make it to the final judging to determine the highest prize, Kondo is determined “The cheese will become more delicious. We aim for a higher level.”
 
Niseko Momiji (2-year matured) is priced at 1,100 yen per 100 grams; Niseko Kaede × Tsukiura Wine (currently known as Niesko Gouda × Tsukiura Wine) at 1,300 yen per 100 grams; and Niseko Konayuki at 1,300 yen per 150 grams (all prices are pre-tax).

Location

Niseko Cheese Factory

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