An Eltham cheese factory has won international awards for its Kāpiti cheeses.
Fonterra Brands' Eltham Bridge Street Cheesemakers had a number of their cheeses win at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards held in Staffordshire, United Kingdom.
Site manager Jim Fryer says the success builds on the history of quality cheese making at the site.
"We're the oldest Fonterra site in New Zealand. We've been open for 103 years and there's real proud history and legacy of quality cheese making here at Bridge Street."
The site won three trophies, and three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals.
The Kāpiti Kahurangi Creamy Blue was awarded the Reserve Supreme Champion Overseas Cheese and the Capital H Challenge Cup, awarded annually for best Soft or Semi-Soft or Cream Cheese. Awa Tangy Blue won Best New Zealand Cheese, picking up the prestigious Reefers 90s Award.
Eltham's other sites on Collingwood St and Whareroa also picked up awards. Collingwood St's Anchor Hi Melt Cheddar Processed Cheese won the Aditya Birla Chemicals Trophy for Best Processed Cheese. They also received one gold, silver, and bronze medal. Whareroa won a silver and bronze medal.
Jim says the awards reflect the team effort at the factory.
"The success of the cheese is thanks to everyone who works in the factory. It just goes to show the legacy we have of high-quality cheese. There were 5500 entries in the awards and we received some really great results."
Cathy says a lot of love and time goes into making the cheese.
"It's all made traditionally. The key ingredient is the quality milk we get from local farms. Taranaki has a mixture of volcanic and coastal soils which develops into quality grass leading to quality milk. It's high in minerals, creams, and solid. The cheese comes from the land and Taranaki can be proud of the cheese. Taranaki also has its own variant of blue mould."
While the cheese is made in Eltham, Cathy says there's some confusion.
"A lot of people think Kāpiti refers to Kāpiti Island but that's not the case. It's made here."
The winning cheese is best paired with honeycomb, dark chocolate, or pears.
"However it's up to the individual person. It is also best paired with a plum tasting red wine."
Jim says people wanting to taste the award-winning cheese can buy some at the Eltham Cheese Bar on Bridge St, at local supermarkets, or at the Taste of Taranaki pop-up.
"The great thing is when people buy the cheese they're supporting local and Taranaki can be really proud of this award-winning cheese."