cultured butter

SA’s Dairy Product of 2011

The 27th April is a notable day in SA’s history – and it’s become one with important food industry nuance as a date when the dairy sector honours its champions. The Dairy Product of 2011 has been awarded to….

A CULTURED BUTTER FROM Ladismith Cheese was crowned as the 2011 Dairy Product of the Year at the Danisco Qualité Dinner of the South African Dairy Championships held on 27 April at a banquet in Stellenbosch. Fourteen superior dairy products received the coveted Qualité mark of excellence, while a total of 91 dairy products were lauded SA Champions.  

Clinching the title as SA Dairy Product of the Year from 833 other dairy entries, Ladismith Cheese, the innovative dairy company from Ladismith in the Klein Karoo, now brings South Africans a step closer to culinary delight with the creation of this excellent and award winning product.

Cultured butter has been an essential product for European chefs and gourmands for centuries. During its manufacturing process a culture is added to the freshly pasteurised cream which delivers deep and rich flavours. The flavour is also undiluted as cultured butter is lightly salted, 0,5% compared to 1.7% for ordinary butter. Another benefit of cultured butter is that it spreads better due to the natural aeration. [No product pic supplied by the organisers as yet.]

Product of the Year 2011

SA Dairy Champion 2011
Alan Taylor and the rest of the Ladismith Cheese team clinched the title as SA Dairy Product of the Year from 833 other dairy entries at the Danisco Qualité Dinner of the South African Dairy Championships with their exceptional cultured butter.

Read more about Ladismith Cheese here

Competition draws entries from far and wide

The competition, which has taken place for the 177th time, this year drew a total of 833 entries from 77 large and artisanal manufacturers. “Although we’ve not experienced a significant increase in the number of entries, the importance of taking part has increased,” says Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo, organisers of the SA Dairy Championships. “Both large and boutique manufacturers use the competition as a benchmark for quality, while retailers and distributers gain valuable insight into which products to promote with pride.”

“The 41 local and international dairy experts who acted as judges agreed that the packaging and appearance of the products of boutique cheese makers has shown remarkable improvement,” says Kobus Mulder, chief judge and Dairy Manager at Agri-Expo.  “Consumers buy firstly with their eyes and a handsome and fresh product will always receive attention.”

Qualité winners

The Qualité emblem serves to guarantee the dairy consumer of the utmost quality. This year only fourteen products received this prestigious acclaim.  

Parmalat, one of the country’s largest dairy manufacturers, received three Qualité Awards for its Mature Cheddar, Simonsberg Extra Mature Cheddar and its Royalty Stracciatella Aylesbury ice cream. Lancewood and Ladismith Cheese followed closely on their heels with two Qualité Awards each. Other Qualité winners include Clover SA, DairyBelle, Fair Cape Dairies, Honeydew Dairies, Marcel’s Frozen Yoghurt, Puglia Cheese and Stonelees.  

The full Qualité list:

Clover SA Sacca  Mild Cheddar
Parmalat SA Mature Cheddar
Parmalat SA Simonsberg  Extra Mature Cheddar
Puglia Cheese Fior De Latte Mozzarella
Lancewood Holdings Smoked  Salmon Cream Cheese
Ladismith Cheese Ladismither Semi-hard Cheese
DairyBelle Easy Slice Cheddar Processed Cheese
Lancewood Holdings Low Fat Smooth Cottage Cheese – Plain
Ladismith Cheese Cultured Butter
Honeydew Dairies Low Fat Fruit of the Cape Yoghurt
Stonelees Full Cream Plain Yoghurt
Parmalat SA Aylesbury – Royalty Stracciatella Ice Cream
Marcel’s Frozen Yoghurt Woolworths Cranberry and Litchi  Frozen Yoghurt
Fair Cape Dairies Fair Cape Vanilla Custard


SA Champion Dairy Products

A total of 91 dairy products were given SA Champion status.  In this category Parmalat took the lead with 12 champions, while Lancewood Holdings followed closely with nine, and Fairfield Dairy and Fair Cape Dairies with seven each. Fairview Cheese Company has six champions, while Belnori Boutique Cheesery, DairyBelle and Clover SA boast five each.

Other SA Champions include Dalewood Fromage (3), De Pekelaar Cheese (3), Ladismith Cheese (3), Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses (2), Lausanne Dairies (2), Marcel’s Frozen Yoghurt (2), Ovis Angelica (2), Puglia Cheese (2), Rhodes Food Group (2), Zandam Cheese (2), and Arista Dairies (1), Foxenburg (1), Hijke Cheese (1), Honeydew Dairies (1), Jasmyn Bokmelk (1), Klein River Cheese (1), Laerskool Buffeljagsrivier (1), La Montanara Dairy (1), La Rochelle Bokmelkkaas (1), Sonnendal (1), Stonelees (1), and Swissland Cheese (1).

Cheese makers to hone their skills in France

Four trainee cheese makers will soon augment their cheese making skills with knowledge gleaned from the veritable European cheese masters. David Jackson (Simonsberg Cheese), Jonathan Hendricks (Kasselshoop Cheese), Lezl Pietersen (Arista Dairies) and Andries Hendricks (All Seasons Dairy) will leave for Burgundy later this year for practical training at various cheeseries, as well as theoretical tuition that includes modules on marketing and other commercial aspects of the industry.

Vernon Manual, one of the first students to complete the Burgundy Cheese making Fellowship course, this year returned to the competition as a first time judge. Manual is presently employed as dairy technologist by a well known retail group, where he is responsible for the group’s cheese quality. “I was amazed at the vast variety of cheese entered for the competition. Many of these products are marketed and sold at regional level only, or at one or two fresh food markets, but here you could experience the big picture of the SA cheese scene.”  

Bursary winners

SA Dairy Champs Bursary Winners
Back l to r: David Jackson (Simonsberg Cheese), Kobus Mulder (Agri-Expo Dairy Manager), Jonathan Hendricks (Kasselhoop Cheese).
Front l to r: Lezl Pietersen (Arista Dairies), Andries Hendricks (All Seasons Dairy).