SWISS-trained artisan cheese maker Chris Vogel, Denmark, has taken out one of two special dairy awards in the Perth Royal Show food awards for the third year running.
Mr Vogel's essentially one-person Dellendale Creamery business was winner of the Best Small Cheese Maker special award in the 2019 Perth Royal Food Awards.
Dellendale Creamery, on his family's former dairy farm in the hills north of Denmark, also won the Best Small Cheese Maker special award last year and in 2017 - the first year Mr Vogel entered his hand-made cheeses in the food awards hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of WA (RASWA).
The other special award, Best Small Other Dairy Product Maker, was won by boutique gelato maker, The Milk Barrel, at Hillarys Boat Harbour.
Although the 2019 Perth Royal Show is still just under a month away, the 220 dairy category entries from across Australia in the 2019 Perth Royal Food Awards were judged over two days last month.
The winners were presented with their awards by RASWA president Paul Carter this month at a gala function in the Wilkinson Gallery at Claremont Showgrounds.
This year the panel of dairy judges was headed by South Australian food technologist, cheese maker, cheese educator and cheese judge Gina Dal Santo.
Each entry was judged with a score out of 100, with flavour and aroma comprising up to 50 points, texture and body up to 30 points and presentation up to 20 points, the competition organisers said.
Entries accumulating more than 90 points received a gold award, those with 82-89.9 received a silver award and 74-81.9 a bronze award, they said.
Entries with the highest points in each of the 10 class categories were awarded as champion in that class.
The two special awards winners were calculated on five points for gold awards, three for silver and one for bronze on the top three scoring entries from each exhibitor.
Only dairy producers with four employees or less are eligible for the best small maker special awards, the organisers said.
As well as the Best Small Cheese Maker special award third year in a row, Dellendale Creamery also won the Champion Cheese and Champion Bovine Cheese awards - as it did in 2017 - with its Nullaki cheese in the semi-hard and eye cheeses class.
As previously reported in Farm Weekly, Mr Vogel buys milk to make his cheeses from neighbours Malcolm and Kellee Hick, who were the first dairy farmers in the district to install a robotic dairy.
He grew up milking cows with his Swiss-born father on the property, then completing an apprenticeship in cheese making in Switzerland and worked in cheese factories there for 10 years before returning to Denmark.
Mr Vogel started hand making cheeses as a hobby in 2010 and slowly developed it into a micro-manufacturing business, employing a part-time person to help him turn and wrap cheeses.
In the 27 cheese classes judged as part of the food awards, artisan cheeses from small WA producers like Dellendale Creamery, Ha Ve Harvey Cheese, Wokalup, Cambray Cheese near Nannup and specialist goat cheese maker Local Goat, Gingin, competed against major brands like King Island Dairy and Ashgrove Cheese from Tasmania and Lemnos Foods and Lactalis Jindi in Victoria.
Dellendale Creamery received two gold and three silver awards for its cheeses, Ha Ve Harvey Cheese five silver and five bronze, Cambrey Cheese a gold and two silver and Local Goat a gold, silver and bronze award.
The Champion Buffalo, Camel, Goat or Sheep Milk Product award was won by Meredith Dairy, Victoria, the only non-WA producer to win a Champion award at the 2019 Perth Royal Food Awards.
Mundella Foods' Greek Natural Yoghurt was judged Champion Yoghurt, the fourth year in a row the Mundijong producer has won the award and the eighth time in the past nine years.
Its Greek Natural Yoghurt is one of the most awarded products in State and national dairy competitions and the milk to make it is supplied locally in the Mundijong area.
The five yoghurt classes judged were mainly a three-way contest between Manassen Foods Australia's two WA companies Mundella Foods and Margaret River Dairy Company, Metricup, and Brownes Food Operations, Balcatta.
Mundella received two gold, three silver and four bronze awards, Margaret River Dairy Company a gold, two silver and three bronze and Brownes a gold and two silver awards.
Manassen Foods is owned by Shanghai-based Bright Food Group, China's second largest foods wholesaler and Brownes is also Chinese owned.
Two Fat Cows' Double Choc ice cream, produced on a family dairy farm at Boallia, between Busselton and Margaret River, won Champion Ice Cream.
The six ice cream classes were a contest between local boutique producers Two Fat Cows and York Ice Cream Company, York.
Two Fat Cows finished with two gold and three silver awards and York Ice Cream Company a gold, three silver and nine bronze awards.
Champion Gelato was won by The Milk Barrel Pty Ltd, Hillarys, with its Honey and Thyme Gelato.
The five gelato classes were another local contest, between four boutique makers - The Milk Barrel Pty Ltd, SubZero Gelato, Perth, Bocelli Gelato, Perth, and Mimmo's Gourmet Gelato, Guildford.
The Milk Barrel dominated the class this year with 10 gold and two silver awards.
Champion Milk - Unflavoured was won by Harvey Fresh for the fourth year in a row with its Jersey Girl Milk.
Harvey Fresh is owned by Lactalis Australia Pty Ltd, previously called Parmalat Australia until it changed its name recently to align with its French-based owners.
Champion Milk - Flavoured was won by Lion Dairy & Drinks with Dare Double Espresso produced at its Bentley milk processing plant.
Bannister Downs Dairy, Northcliffe, won Champion Other Product with its Fresh Cream which also won the award 2015-17.
Artisan butter maker Kylie Ward and her fledgling Midland home business, The Homemade Kitchen, won Champion Butter with her 100 per cent pure butter.