A Somerset cheesemaker has been crowned the supreme champion at this year's Virtual Cheese Awards.

Keens Cheddar beat more than 200 British cheeses to be crowned Supreme Champion and Best of British Cheese at the awards on May 13.

The traditional raw milk extra mature cheddar went through three separate judging rounds to be named the top cheese of the year.

Keen's Cheddar is made by James Keen and family using milk from their own herd of cows fed on the lush pasture around their Somerset farm.

The clothbound cheddar is matured for at least 12 months giving it a rich creamy flavour.

The Extra Mature ages for at least 20 months, which impressed the judges who noted that the cheddar was a “fantastic example of a mature cheddar which ticks all the boxes. It is beautifully balanced with complex flavours. Superb job.”

James Keen, head cheesemaker at Keens Cheddar, said: “Winning the prestigious Supreme Champion Award at the 2022 Virtual Cheese Awards has, without a doubt, made our year!

“Our flagship mature cheddar is aged for 12 months in our cheese stores to produce a smooth creamy cheese.

"It carries a multitude of delightful flavours that develop into a cacophony of savoury, grassy and herby notes, and sometimes into a wonderfully surprising fruity flavour.

"As skilled artisans, we can spot which cheddars have the potential to become outstanding when aged for longer.

“However, cheddar cheese in its cotton cloth needs care to bring out the best characteristics, and this is where the skill of the affineur comes to play.

"We use our five generations of experience to ensure our Keen's Extra Mature Cheddar maintains the smooth texture and the flavours grow to an almost-lost-forever traditional cheddar experience. Lingering for a long while on the tongue but lasting forever in the memory.”

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Silver was awarded to Blackwood’s Cheese Company for Edmund Tew, a washed rind raw milk soft cows cheese made with organic milk farmed on a regenerative system and Cropwell Bishop’s Classic Blue Stilton was awarded bronze.

Lynher Dairies won the award for Best Artisan Hard with its Traditional Cornish Yarg.

The awards make the judging process completely transparent and open to everyone.

This unique process helps celebrate creativity and gives cheesemakers valuable feedback from some of the most influential cheese experts in the country.

The five-and a half hour live was hosted by BBC broadcaster and local food and drink champion, Nigel Barden and was beamed online to 1000s of cheese fans who watched the cheese action unfold.

The final featured seven final cheese categories which were all judged by a panel of cheese experts who work at supermarkets, cheesemongers and in the cheese industry. The categories included Cheddar, Speciality, Artisan Hard and Soft, Territorial, Enhanced and Blue cheese categories.