A gouda cheese made by a Waikato family-owned cheese company took the top honours at the annual New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

Meyer Cheese Goats Milk Gouda was named Countdown Champion of Champion at the cheese awards in Hamilton, a win that general manager of Meyer Cheese, Miel Meyer, said the family was extremely happy about.

"It was just another incredible feeling for us to come out with the award," Miel said.

"It was my brother Geert who took out the top award. I don't tend to touch cheese too much these days after working with it for so long. I just do this stuff and promote it so full credit to the rest of the family."

Advertisement

Miel said the move to use goats' milk was mainly down to demand, saying New Zealanders' food tastes are changing.

"If I had set up at a food show 10 years ago and used sheep's milk, people would be like 'oh I'm not too sure', but now their taste palates are changing.

"When the opportunity came to buy goats' milk, I jumped at it because I knew people's taste buds were changing. People will go straight for these products now."

Miel, who was also a part of the Waikato Food Inc forum, on Tuesday said the ideas coming out of it were positive for the region.

"This is incredibly crucial. I took over our business at 24 years and I struggled to begin with, so sharing ideas is something that is really important.

"Most of our industries have similar problems, so to be able to share and look at problems is terrific, and the opportunities that can come out of this will be incredible," Miel said.
Meyer Cheese is a fully-fledged family affair.

After being established in Waikato in 1976 by Fieke and Ben Meyer, the next generation are at the helm today. Son Miel took over as general manager in 2007 when Ben and Fieke retired.

In 2011, eldest son Geert returned from The Netherlands to take on the role of head cheesemaker for the company.

Advertisement

Geert also collected a trophy at the awards when he was named Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker — the second year in a row he has won the title.