Rogue Creamery awarded 6 gold medals, 2 silver in U.K. cheese competition
The Southern Oregon gourmet cheese company whose Rogue River Blue earned top honors at an international competition in 2019 will add another half dozen gold medals from another international cheese competition across the pond.
Rogue Creamery was awarded six gold medals and two silver medals last week at the International Cheese & Dairy Awards in Stafford, England.
According to Rogue Creamery spokeswoman Marguerite Merritt, what stands out for the Central Point company is the wide variety of categories it won Oct. 21 — winning awards in everything from the best blue cheese outside the UK to awards for its cheese packaging.
“We really had a clean sweep,” Merritt said. “By and large our cheeses performed exceptionally well.”
Its Rogue River Blue, which captured gourmets’ attention in 2019 when the batch-made cheese was named World Champion at the 2019 World Cheese Awards, was awarded two more gold medals at the ICDA, taking the top prize in “Best Organic Cheese (Non-U.K.)” and “Best USA Blue Cheese.”
Rogue River Blue is made in small batches every fall, and Merritt said there’s growing demand for Rogue River Blue wheels of cheese in the U.K., the European Union and Australia.
Two other blue cheese varieties from the cheesemaker were awarded medals at the competition. Its Oregon Blue took gold in the “Best Blue Cheese (Non-U.K.) category, while its Caveman Blue took home silver in the same category.
Merritt said the variety of blue cheese award winners showcases the talent of its fromage teams, not to mention the wide variety of flavors from different recipes of one cheese variety.
“A lot of people think of blue cheese as an it-is-what-it-is,” Merritt said. “There’s a unique blue cheese for every scenario.”
A pair of smoked cheeses from the Rogue Valley cheesemaker garnered awards in the United Kingdom competition. Its limited production Smokey Touvelle took gold in the category of “Best Naturally Smoked Hard Cheese (Non-U.K.),” and its Smokey Blue — a blue cheese smoked with Oregon hazelnut shells — took silver in the “Naturally Smoked Cheese (Non-U.K.)” category.
Its Enraptured Blanc — described as “a blue cheese soaked in a white wine vintners’ blend,” available exclusively at Whole Foods markets since its launch in December — took home gold medal for “Best New Dairy Product (Non-U.K.).”
The cheesemaker also won a gold medal for "Label Design Presented on a Branded Pack.“
The award praises the labels and packaging on the company’s new line of 119-gram wedges that showcase Oregon Blue, Smokey Blue, Caveman Blue, Oregonzola, Crater Lake Blue and Bluehorn Blue as distinctive varieties while “maintaining a coherent brand.”
In addition to the new label designs, the packaging award lauds the company’s efforts to reduce plastic waste.
“That was a long process,” Merritt said. “It’s a great victory for our R&D.”
Merritt said that interest in artisan cheese from the United States is “growing exponentially,” and she believes Rogue Creamery’s 2019 award was a watershed moment.
“It was a remarkable moment in the cheese industry,” Merritt said of Rogue Creamery taking the top prize in the 2019 World Cheese Awards. “It shows that we belong in cheese cases around the world.”