World's best cheese of 2022 revealed: 'Smooth in your mouth, melting on your tongue'

Joe Salonia and Dennis Kaser are pictured holding Le Gruyère AOP surchoix, the 2022 winner of the World Cheese Awards, on Nov. 2, 2022. (Credit: Guild of Fine Food)

The world’s best cheese was crowned this week in the United Kingdom out of over 4,000 entries, winning the judges over for its "smooth in your mouth and melting on your tongue" quality. 

Le Gruyère AOP surchoix, a matured cheese made from raw cow’s milk that is full-bodied with a slightly crumbly texture, was named winner of the 2022 edition of the World Cheese Awards in Wales. 

The Le Gruyère AOP surchoix was entered by Swiss cheesemaker Vorderfultigen and affineur — or "refiner" — Gourmino. It rose to the top out of 4,434 of the world’s best cheeses from around the world, which arrived in Wales by boat, truck, train, and plane.


The World Cheese Awards 2022 featured 4,434 cheese entries. (Credit: Guild of Fine Food)

The cheeses were scored on aspects such as the appearance of the rind and paste, the cheese’s aroma, body, and texture, with the majority of points awarded for flavor and mouthfeel. The panel of judges included cheesemakers, cheesemongers, buyers, chefs, retailers, and writers, to deem if they were worthy of a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Super Gold award.

From 4,434 entries, the judges narrowed the competition down to 98 "Super Golds" and then to 16 finalists. 

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World Cheese Awards 2022 judging. (Credit: Guild of Fine Food)

The cheeses were then evaluated again by the "International Super Jury," which included Whole Foods Market’s global cheese buyer Cathy Strange, Patricia Michelson, founder of the cheese-focused retailer and café La Fromagerie, owner of Ukrainian retail chain Cheese Kingdom Denis Priimagi, and Davide Fiori from Luigi Guffanti 1876 in Italy.

Gorgonzola Dolce DOP, made by De’ Magi from Italy, came in second place, followed by: 

  • Grosse Tomme de Bufflonne Cave Jacobine from Prolactine France
  • Âlde Fryske from De Fryske
  • Tomme de chèvre Cave Jacobine from Prolactine France
  • PATA DE MULO CURADO LOS PAYUELOS from Quesería Artesanal Los Payuelos
  • Greensward from Murray’s Cheese
  • Devon Blue from Ticklemore Cheese
  • Spenwood from Village Maid Cheese
  • Grosse Tomme de chèvre Cave Rousseau from Prolactine France
  • Sinodun Hill from Norton and Yarrow Cheese
  • Gorwydd Caerphilly from Trethowan’s Dairy
  • Großer Deichkäse 12 Monate from Rohmilchkäserei Backensholz GmbH & Co. KG
  • MA-TRU’ Pecorino Amatriciano from F.LLI PETRUCCI SRL
  • L’Ambra di Talamello from Rocca Toscana Formaggi S.R.L.
  • Gentenaer from Little Cheese Farm

John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food — the organizers of the World Cheese Awards — said this year’s event brought in more entries than ever before.

"What a finale," Farrand said. "To crown Le Gruyère AOP surchoix as this year’s World Champion Cheese is so well deserved. The judges in the room today, our cheese experts from all over the world, were clearly blown away by the quality of the cheese and dedication shown by the cheesemakers."

The 2022 World Cheese Awards was the 34th edition with the cheese entries being submitted from 42 countries and 900 companies from around the world. It was originally scheduled to be hosted in Kyiv, Ukraine, but due to Russia’s invasion of the country, the event was moved to Wales.

This story was reported from Cincinnati.