DAIRY products made in WA by Mundijong processor Mundella Foods, micro-boutique Denmark cheesemaker Dellendale Creamery and Harvey Fresh are national champions after the recent 2019 Australian Grand Dairy Awards.
Mundella Greek Honey Yoghurt was named champion flavoured yoghurt for the second year in a row at Dairy Australia’s awards presentation in Melbourne.
As well, it claimed one of two grand champion awards presented this year.
The other was the Lion Dairy and Drinks-owned King Island Dairy’s Roaring Forties blue cheese.
Grand champions are the products across 18 dairy and cheese categories in the awards which earned highest aggregate scores from the panel of 12 judges.
Australian Grand Dairy Awards convener Alexandra Kury congratulated Mundella on its Greek Honey Yoghurt, saying, “It was a standout this year and we couldn’t be more thrilled to announce such a well-deserved champion”.
Ms Kury said the judges praised its unchanged recipe for a thick and creamy texture with a “perfectly balanced sweet, subtle natural honey flavour”.
Mundella was the first WA dairy processor to introduce Greek-style yoghurt in 2005.
Its Greek Natural Yoghurt is one of the most awarded products in the 20 years of grand dairy awards and was champion unflavoured yoghurt three years in a row to 2017 and eight times in 11 years.
Started as a family business in 1974, Mundella uses milk exclusively from dairy farms within 20 kilometres and produced by a total herd of about 350 cows fed local citrus fruits and vegetables to supplement pasture feed.
The business is now owned by Manassen Foods Group, a private company which also owns the Margaret River Dairy Company and is a subsidiary of Shanghai-based Bright Food Group, China’s second largest foods wholesaler.
Mundella is one of more than 60 brands owned or imported and distributed to retail outlets by Manassen.
Accepting Mundella’s awards, Manassen’s chief marketing officer Simon Stewart said they were “a testament to the hard-working team we have at Mundella Foods”.
“It is a great inspiration for all small dairies batting above their weight in quality products in an industry climate of multinationalisation.
“We are thrilled that Australia’s best kept secret has finally been discovered.
“The nationally recognised award will help drive national distribution so all of Australia can have access and enjoy Australia’s 2019 grand champion.”
Swiss trained cheesemaker Chris Vogel, who owns and operates Dellendale Creamery with the help of just a part-time person to wrap and pack, added his first two national champion awards on Friday to a rapidly expanding trophy collection.
Mr Vogel’s Dellendale Creamery Torndirrup Appenzelle was named champion semi-hard cheese ahead of two cheeses produced in Burnie, Tasmania, by Lion Dairy and Drinks under its Heidi Farm brand.
His Dellendale Creamery Torndirrup Native Herb was then named champion flavoured cheese ahead of a classic fetta from Yarra Valley Dairy, Victoria, and a basil haloumi from The Riverina Dairy food and beverage company, Albury, on the New South Wales and Victorian border.
Mr Vogel buys the milk to make his cheeses from near neighbours Malcolm and Kellee Hick who were the first in the district to install a robotic dairy.
He grew up milking cows with his Swiss-born father on the Dellendale property, then completed a cheesemaking apprenticeship in Switzerland and worked in cheese factories there for 10 years before returning to Denmark.
Mr Vogel started hand making cheeses as a hobby nine years ago and slowly developed it into a micro-manufacturing business.
Dellendale Creamery cheeses are sold through IGA stores, some wineries and local retail outlets and Mr Vogel sells them at farmers markets.
He won the IGA Perth Royal Show best small cheese maker special award two years ago at his first competition attempt.
“Awesome night in Melbourne attending the Australian Grand Dairy Awards,” Mr Vogel posted on Dellendale Creamery’s Facebook page on Saturday.
“Dellendale is bringing home two champion cheese awards – amazing feeling.
“We were treated to all the champion products and (met) the people making them, and I must say Australian dairy (producers) are leaders in innovation and outstanding quality,” he said.
Again exclusively using WA milk, Parmalat-owned Harvey Fresh’s Farmhouse Gold full cream milk was named Australia’s champion milk ahead of Harvey Fresh’s own brand full cream milk which was one of three finalists.
The judges praised the local Farmhouse Gold milk – Farmhouse Gold is also produced by Pauls, Harvey Fresh’s Parmalat-owned sister company in the Eastern States – for its rich, extra creamy taste.
Congratulating Parmalat, Ms Kury said, “The dairy industry has recently been through challenging times, including significant drought, so to see such high-quality products across the board this year was phenomenal and a testament to Australian producers like Parmalat”.
Accepting the award, Parmalat’s Pippa Barlett, said it was “a fantastic result for the whole team involved”.
This year more than 400 dairy products were taste-tested and critiqued by the judges for the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.
Only processors and manufacturers who had won gold medals at State awards were eligible to enter.
The People’s Choice award went to Queensland producer Maleny Dairies for its Farmer’s Choice non-homogenised full cream milk.
The 2019 annual Dairy Industry Association of Australia WA Dairy Product Awards will be presented at the Cottesloe Golf Club on Saturday, March 23.