After tasting their way through 380 of Australia’s finest dairy products, judges of the prestigious Australian Grand Dairy Awards have announced the 2024 finalists from across the nation.
Proving that quality dairy products come from all corners of the country, finalists represented each Australian state with 35 producers of cheese, ice-cream, milk, yoghurts, butter, gelatos and more -shortlisted as finalists.
In a battle to be the cheese capital of Australia, Victoria and Tasmania each had seven finalists across the cheese categories including blue cheese, white mould and semi-hard, and South Australia has taken a clean sweep of the unripened cheese category.
Fittingly, Queensland is leading the way with our frozen favourites with five out of the six ice-cream and gelati finalists being produced in our sunshine state.
Last year’s winning ice-cream producer The Standard Market Company is guaranteed the Champion trophy taking out all three finalist spots for 2024.
In response to this year’s success Maggie Bekkara, Production Manager, The Standard Market Company said, “I am on cloud nine, the feeling of being a finalist again is a mix of pride, accomplishment, and a renewed sense of achievement.”
“It reflects recognition for excellence and the excitement of being acknowledge among the top contenders,” she said.
Not to be outdone, producers from Western Australia have proven popular in the yogurt category and New South Wales have claimed six of the nine finalists spots in the milk categories.
The Awards, now in their 25th year, celebrate the best of the best in Australian dairy, recognising quality, excellence and the refined skills of local Australian producers who craft some of the best dairy product in the world.
All products, which qualified for the awards by winning gold medals at state competitions, were put through a rigorous judging process. There were 16 expert judges who tested flavour, aroma, texture, body and appearance to identify the finest products across 18 categories.
Leading the panel of judges, technical experts and flavour specialists, was respected dairy educator and chief judge Russell Smith and deputy chief judge, Mark Livermore.
“We’re thrilled to announce the impressive line-up of 2024 finalists and pay recognition to the talented Australians who dedicate their time, passion and skill to producing high quality dairy foods for Australia and the rest of the world to enjoy,” said Smith.
“As we have come to expect the quality of products presented for judging was exceptional. Many old favourites have re-established their place among the best of the best, with new products also impressing.”
The finalists now have an anxious wait until the exclusive awards ceremony in February where category Champions will be announced and the highest scoring product from both the overall dairy and cheese categories will be crowned as the Grand Champions – the very best two products Australian dairy has to offer.
All finalists are listed on the next page and can also be viewed here.