Two Hawke's Bay cheesemakers have collectively contributed to big wins at a national competition celebrating the best.
Craggy Range Sheep Dairy was recognised as one of four supreme champions at the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2022 for their Maraetotara Manchego.
They won the Puhoi Valley Cheese Champion of Champions Cheese Award as a boutique producer.
Master Judge Jason Tarrant said while judging Maraetotara Manchego that he was pleased with the quality of cheese from a small-scale producer like Craggy Range Sheep Dairy.
"For a boutique producer to deliver such a high-quality cheese shows our small-scale industry is in great hands," he said.
Craggy Range Sheep Dairy owners James and Kate Clairmont operate over 70ha of farmland off Craggy Range Rd near Tuki Tuki.
Their Maraetotara Manchego has already been recognised earlier in the year with two gold medals from the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association, the Wintec New Cheese gold medal and Dish Sheep Milk Cheese gold medal.
Maraetotara Manchego cheese is produced at Hōhepa Hawke's Bay, which was itself the winner of the inaugural Countdown Sustainability Trophy for outstanding commitment to all elements of sustainability.
The judges noted that Hōhepa Hawke's Bay had a positive impact on the environment by downsizing its petrol and diesel fleet and moving to an electric quad bike to reduce emissions.
The judges said Hōhepa Hawke's Bay also had a positive impact on people through its work with the community of people with disabilities and the support providing training, education and a livelihood.
Hōhepa Hawke's Bay also won six medals in this year's NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.
These included the IXOM European Style Cheese gold medal for the Hōhepa Danbo and Hōhepa Vintage cheeses, the IXOM European Style Cheese silver medal for the Hōhepa Aged Danbo, the Big Chill Distribution Fresh Flavour Added Cheeses silver medal for its Hōhepa Herb Quark, the SanSmart Aged Flavour Added Cheese silver medal for its Hōhepa Fenugreek and the Cheeselinks Fresh Italian Style Cheese bronze medal for the Hōhepa Mozzarella.