The town of Bergen, Norway

The 31st annual World Cheese Awards are about to open for entry, and the international cheese community couldn’t be more excited. The awards are the largest cheese-only competition series on Earth, and this year it’s taking place in Norway. John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, has said he’s “very excited to be visiting Norway for the first time to stage the largest cheese-only event that the world has ever seen.”

Thousands of cheese enthusiasts from more than 30 countries will gather in Bergen’s Grieg Hall to showcase the finest cheese products in the world and compete for the internationally-lauded title of World Champion Cheese.

Over 300 judges will work in 66 teams to identify any cheeses worthy of a Bronze, Silver or Gold award. In judging they consider: the rind and body of the cheese, its colour, its consistency, its texture, and – more than anything – its taste.  Each team will nominate one extraordinary cheese as their Super Gold; one of the best cheeses in the world. These 66 cheeses are then judged by a Super Jury of 16 experts from all corners of the globe, who will debate and decide on the World Champion Cheese live on WCA TV.

More than 3,000 cheesemakers will descend on the Norwegian town not just to compete, but also to celebrate Matnasjonen Norge, a festival celebrating farmers, producers, chefs and retailers. Matnasjonen Norge is brought to Bergen by a partnership between the WCA and HANEN, an organisation championing the best of the Norwegian countryside. It’s supported by Norway’s Minister of Agriculture and Food, Jon Georg Dale, and the Bergen city government. The festival will feature industry experts, celebrity chefs, and artisan producers to complement the masses of cheese available.

Guild of Fine Food, the organisers of the festival, are expecting a record-breaking 3,500 cheeses to be entered and judged. The World Cheese Awards open for entry on Wednesday 5 September, with the judging taking place on Friday 2 November. Places are limited, so early entry is recommended to ensure a spot.

Producers can enter online at www.gff.co.uk/wca.