Monday, February 18, 2013

Cheesy awards

In the cheese domain, my native land seems to have invented the equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest. At the annual dairy awards of the Royal Agricultural Society in Sydney, the major prize-winner was neither from France nor even from Australia. Maximum awards went to an international chain of discount supermarkets, based in Germany, named Aldi. That choice strikes me as weird in the sense that I didn't even know that Aldi produced cheese.

I'm told that Australia has many excellent artisan cheesemakers (which doesn't surprise me), but their products were swamped by those of the giant low-cost multinational.

Michael McNamara, cheesemaker at Pecora Dairy in Robertson, NSW
— photo Sahlan Hayes, The Sydney Morning Herald

I wonder whether horsey lasagne from the French Spanghero company would be an award-winner in Australia

BREAKING NEWS: Many people in France (and elsewhere, of course) have been shocked by the lasagne affair. In their eagerness to get to the roots of the problem, French authorities have been jostling with several key concepts such as credible and complete labeling, traceability (enabling consumers to know the origins of foodstuff) and DNA testing (to distinguish horsemeat from beef). This morning, people concerned with dairy products have drawn attention to the astonishing fact that 90% of French cheeses are made with milk imported into France. Ideally, consumers should be aware of the origin of milk used by French industrial groups in the dairy products domain. They should be informed as to how the dairy cows were fed, and how the milk was collected. For the moment, this is not at all the case.

A few days ago, on French TV news, journalists presented the "Australian made" phenomenon as an exemplary system, which might serve as a guide for France. Fair enough. I trust that Aldi's award-winning dairy products bear this celebrated green and yellow logo.


  1. The problem, as I see it, is that Aldi don't themselves make the cheese. They pay someone else to make it under the Aldi brand. What I don't understand is why the rest of the cheese made by those producers does not win prizes at the RAS!

  2. William this is purposeful provocation. Shame! 'Cheesed off or stiff cheese' are excellent Australian slang expressions with somewhat dissimilar meanings. 'Who the hell do they think they are, versus 'get......nicked'.

    Apply this to Gerard Depardieu and France in parting of their ways or (curds & wheys). Jean-Marc Ayrault, 'minable' describes Gerard's decision and mirrors the AUST. boutique cheese opinion, of ALDI's judges. No offense to any intended, I trust?