SA Dairy Championships Makes History

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'South African dairy products are of exceptional quality.'  This is the overall feedback from the 61 judges that participated in the 2015 South African Dairy Championships, sponsored by DuPont. The judging took place on 11 March 2015 in the Cape Town International Convention Centre and made history with a record number of 879 product entries from 80 producers.  

“We are extremely excited about this record number of entries because it is a clear indication of the high level of confidence dairy producers has in the championships”, says Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo and organisers of the event. “We were particularly impressed with the 17% increase in producer participation, as it shows a growing need to benchmark their products at a national standard”.

The aim of the championships is to continuously improve the quality of dairy products, to measure products against each other and to utilise the awards in marketing campaigns.  The SA Champions are winners in each of the 95 classes in the eight categories, namely cheese, butter, yoghurt, dairy dessert, cottage cheese, ice cream, cultured and flavoured milk and dairy dips.  The Qualité mark is awarded to products of excellence and the overall winning product receive the Dairy Product of the Year accolade.

According to Kobus Mulder, chief judge, “the cheese category is by far the largest, taking up more than half of the entries. The quality of goat’s milk and continental cheeses increased significantly over the years.  This is mainly due to a growing level of knowledge amongst artisanal cheese makers”.

“It’s amazing to be involved in the SA Dairy Championships and to see and taste such an unbelievable selection of cheeses and other dairy products”, says Abigail Donnelly, editor of Eat Out Magazine, food editor of Taste Magazine and one of the judges. “My message to consumers is simple.  There is nothing like it in South Africa, yet this is a world-class event with outstanding quality products”.

The winners will be announced at the prestigious DuPont Qualité Awards Dinner on 22 April 2015 at Grand West.

Image caption: Back – Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo and organisers of the SA Dairy Championships; Craig Cormack, Chef:Goose Roasters; Kobus Mulder, Chief Judge; Rudi Liebenberg, Executive Chef: Mount Nelson; Ian Bergh, Chef: De Grendel Restaurant; Christo Pretorius, Executive Chef: Azure Restaurant.  Front: Tanja Kruger, Chef: Makaron Restaurant; Pete Goffe-Wood, Chef: Kitchen Cowboys; Abigail Donnelly, Editor: Eat Out Magazine & Food Editor: Taste Magazine; Darren Badenhorst, Executive Chef: Grand Provence.