The 33rd World Cheese Awards took place last week in Oviedo, Spain for the first time since 2019. Amid all the excitement, an artisan goat cheese, Olavadia, was named the best in the world for 2021.

The extensive field included 4,079 entries from 40 countries. The winner received 103 votes and its “rich, seductive, creamy texture” won everyone over, according to judge Jason Hinds.

“Its appearance is so original and it didn’t let me down. It’s unctuous, seductive, pillowy, warm, and comforting,” Hinds said. The cheese has a small black stripe down the center, which arises from the use of olive stone ash in the recipe.

This Spanish Goat Cheese Has Been Crowned ‘The World’s Best’ For 2021
Credit: Guild of Fine Food /

Silvia Pelaez, one of the owners of the company that produces the cheese, comes from a small city in southern Spain known for its exported olives. “We are a small humble cheesemaker,” she told CNN.

Awards were given out based on the assessments of 205 judges, whose backgrounds ranged from scientists to sommeliers, cheese sellers, and chefs. Their judging criteria focused on products with exceptional color, texture, and taste, according to the competition’s website.

Second place went to a soft cheese from France’s Fromagerie Berthaut. While the competition didn’t take place last year, an organic blue cheese from Oregon won first prize in 2019 (and it was the first American product to do so).

But now’s the time for Palaez and her team of six to celebrate. “Daily labor has its reward,” she stated.