Meet the best cheese in the world (yes, it's French)

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Meet the best cheese in the world (yes, it's French)

French cheese has come out on top as a traditional Burgundy recipe is crowned the winner at the 'world cup of cheese'.


The international cheese competition - known in French as the Mondial Fromage et des produits laitiers - on Tuesday crowned a winner for the 'Best Cheese in the World' for 2023.

People from France's Burgundy region, and those who are fans of their gastronomy, will be pleased to hear that the 'Berthaut Epoisses 'Perrière'" cheese was awarded the trophy. 

The competition, hosted in the French city of Tours, takes place every two years, bringing together nearly 200 merchants from 48 different countries, plus over 3,000 spectators.

From ranking cheeses to determining the world's best cheese and cheese-maker, 250 dairy professionals serve as judges, making their way through through over 1,500 different cheeses and dairy products, tasting and meticulously scrutinising each of them. 

READ ALSO The eight French cheese 'families'

This year, they chose the Époisses cheese, which is from the Burgundy département of Côte-d'Or, located about halfway between Dijon and Auxerre. The cheese is made from cow's milk and it is known for its pungent smell and soft, oozy texture. The circular cheese has a distinctive orange colour on its exterior, with a "washed rind". 

In 1991, the cheese was awarded AOC (Appelation origine controllé) status, meaning it must be produced to a specific recipe, within the Burgundy area.

READ MORE: What does the AOP/AOC label on French food and wine mean - and are these products better?

Cheese experts with 'Vin Vigne' recommend pairing it with a wine from the same region, preferably a dry white from Burgundy vineyards. 

Christophe Prouvost, who accepted the prize for the 'fromagerie Berthaut' told France régions that he is proud to "know that we are carrying on the history of our region," adding that in the 1950s there were only two farms producing the Époisses cheese. 


"The cheese was on its way out, and Maison Berthaut brought it back," Prouvost told France régions.

How does the ranking work?

The process begins with selecting the large group of cheese to be tested by the judges - this year, there were 1,550 selected on Sunday morning (the first day of the competition). Every group of three jurors is responsible for ranking between 14 to 18 cheeses, according to France Bleu.

The judges then finalise their shortlist of 12 cheeses that earned the best scores by the end of the first day. Then, the judges once again assign a score to each of the 12 cheeses.

As for the top 12 this year, 10 were French, one was Swiss, and another was Brazilian. They are;

  • 1 Epoisses AOP (French)
  • 2. L'Etivas AOP (Swiss)
  • 3. Couronne de Touraine (French)
  • 4. Fromager d'Affinois le Fromager (French)
  • 5. Camembert Lait Cru (French)
  • 6. Le Petit Cru Bio (French)
  • 7. Trèfle du Perche (French)
  • 8. Caprinus du Lago (Brazilian)
  • 9. Chabichoi du Poitou AOP (French)
  • 10. Le Charolais AOP (French)
  • 11. Coulomiers Lait Cru Nugier (French)
  • 12. La Clochette Fraiche (French)

What about the best cheesemonger?

Cheesemongers are also competing against one another for the prize of 'best in the world'.

This year, Vincent Philippe, from Brittany, won the World Champion title. Competing against 15 other top cheese names, Philippe told regional newspaper Ouest France that he prepared with "blind tasting, precision cutting, and multiple choice questions."


He competed against 15 other candidates from 13 different countries.

You can learn more about the competition in the video below (with English subtitles).


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Susan Sturman 2023/09/14 18:55
Correction: the competition was not for best cheesemaker but best cheese French the word Fromager is used for both. But this was definitely a competition for best cheesemonger. Please correct the text, otherwise it's quite misleading!
Richard Freer 2023/09/14 17:35
I have loved Époisses for many years. The creamy, delicate flavour of the inside contrasts so much with pungent outside (is it still true Époisses is banned on the Paris Metro because of the smell?). Ironically, I have never been able to get a good, ripe Époisses in France. The best I have bought has been from Sainsbury’s in England…

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