A soft goat’s cheese made by Andalusian cheesemaker Quesos y Besos was named World Champion Cheese in the World Cheese Awards in Oviedo, Spain, on Nov. 3. The competition was held at Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos as part of the Asturias Paraíso Natural International Cheese Festival 2021, according to the Guild of Fine Food, the contest’s organizers.

Produced by a family-run business established in 2017, Olavidia has brought international acclaim to Silvia Peláez and her team of just six people. The soft cheese is matured with Penicillium Candidum and a layer of olive stone ash running through its middle.

In a close run final, second place was awarded to an Epoisses Berthaut Perrière, made by Fromagerie Berthaut in France and entered by Savencia Fromage & Dairy, while third place was taken by Eminence Grise – Tomme Chèvre Grise au Bleu, produced by Van der Heiden Kaas in the Netherlands. The Top 16 also included cheeses from Austria, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the U.K., the Guild of Fine Food said.

“As the World Cheese Awards was founded over three decades ago to showcase the work of small artisan cheesemakers, it gives me immense pleasure to see a tiny family-run cheesemaking business taking top honors once again,” said John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food. “It’s an incredible feat to stand out in a field of over 4,000 cheeses from every corner of the world, but Quesos y Besos’ Olavidia clearly had everything; delivering an exceptional appearance, aroma, texture and flavor, along with bags of originality.”

The 33rd edition of the World Cheese Awards was bigger and more international than ever before, featuring over 4,000 entries for the first time. The competing cheeses represented 45 different countries, the Guild of Fine Food said.

All entries were judged in a single day, as 250 experts from 38 different countries considered their appearance, texture, aroma and flavor. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold accolades were awarded during the morning session, before the Super Golds were reassessed to find this year’s Top 16. The International Super Jury, featuring the great and good of the global cheese community, then debated the best cheeses on the planet in front of a live audience, before crowning this year’s World Champion Cheese.