International Cheese Awards Press Release December 2014: Remembering the Best Bits of 2014 and Looking Ahead to 2015!

2014 is drawing to a close, and it’s time to look back on another triumphant year for the International Cheese Awards. Hopefully many of you were able to join us in July for our record-breaking 117th show in Nantwich – if not, we hope to see you next year, either on Tuesday 28th July (Trade, Judging and Press Day) or Wednesday 29th July (Show Day).

In the meantime, I’ve been asking some of the key figures from this year’s show for their favourite memories of 2014…and what they’re already looking forward to at ICA 2015!

Bruce McDonald, ICA Chair: My 2014 highlights are quite varied: the great contributions from the stewards and volunteers, the dressing of the hospitality area, the chefs, the weather, the first visit by Internationale Guilde des Fromagers and of course, the incredible variety and number of the competition entries.

Looking forward to 2015, the work continues through the winter. There's a lot of planning to do, new contacts to be made and new opportunities to seize. Some of the changes we will make will be visible and others will be below the surface. The Internationale Guilde des Fromagers will be returning and who will they honour?

Ian Luxton, ICA Vice Chair: Building on the remarkable domestic success of the International Cheese Awards, the number of cheese entries received from outside the European Union grew significantly in 2014, compared with the previous year, reinforcing the show’s reputation as the largest in the world and the continuation of its growing International status. The International Cheese Awards at Nantwich now have highly respected and well known International Ambassadors in the USA and Australia who promote the show and who are in contact with cheese-makers across the continents. The creation of consolidation hubs in specific locations in each country, along with the appointment of local contacts, has driven the growth seen and will hopefully deliver a further increase in entry numbers in 2015.

The increase in International entries has also seen a corresponding enhanced interest from cheese specialists outside Europe, and the number of International Cheese Judges has also grown each year. Judges from around the globe are expected to increase in line with the number of cheese entries received, making the Nantwich International Cheese Awards a truly worldwide event and one not to be missed from the International calendar.

Henry Elsby, ICA Vice Chair: The stewards worked tirelessly across all 3 days of the 2014 awards to deliver one of the best shows yet. The atmosphere was fantastic and with so many long-standing stewards it’s never long before the energy rubs off onto new recruits and they get the Nantwich buzz! We have a diverse range of people helping to stage the show ranging from industry served developers and dairy managers to students and senior citizens. It’s fair to say that most leave the showground with even stronger passion for cheese – I know of one steward who is now making soft cheese at home for her family and friends as a result of the ICA! Also, the 2014 awards were a fantastic achievement with another record breaking year for entries. Judges praised overall quality and standard of cheese making at all levels, which is a great indicator of the talent coming up through the industry. I am looking forward to 2015 already. There will be some great additions to the cheese pavilion and hopefully some interesting cheese related activities for all the family to be involved in.

Adrian Lawrence, Show Secretary: I would like to say the highlight was the weather! More seriously, the new all-time record number of entries, which firmly establishes us as not only the largest cheese show in the UK by a country mile, but the largest in the world - all in Nantwich in Cheshire. I am looking forward to even more growth next year - let’s see how far we can go. Thanks to all our sponsors and we look forward to even more companies getting involved with us, a Registered Charity, to help stage such a wonderful event for the whole industry

Jane Arschavir, Blogger at Hodge Podge Days: I'm a cheese loving parent blogger, so naturally I was delighted to be invited to spend the day at ICA 2014. I was bowled over by the huge (really huge, almost incomprehensibly huge) marquee filled to the brim with the finest cheeses from across the world. It was a cheese sampler’s paradise.

As a foodie mum, it's important for me to teach my son where food comes from, how it's produced and for him to try a range of tastes and textures to discover what he likes and what he doesn't. While there's a place for novelty children's cheese, we like to offer more him than that. The ICA is a great family day out, it's somewhere where you can discover and try new things, learn about this multi-million pound industry, pick up a few cheesy bargains and look at the tractors at the agricultural show next door. The ICA just gets bigger every year, we can't wait to see (and try) what ICA 2015 has to offer!

Trade, Sponsorship and Press Opportunities

For more details about how to get involved as an exhibitor or a sponsor contact adrian@internationalcheeseawards.com, or email Liz at media@internationalcheeseawards.com if you’d like to attend as press. Remember that all trade space as well as the trade lunch sold out well ahead of time this year, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to be involved in next year’s show!

As ever, thank you in advance for any coverage you are able to give us, and please do follow us on Twitter @icheeseawards for further news and updates!