Olavidia, a soft goat’s cheese from Spain, bagged the first place at the World Cheese Awards on November 3, 2021. It beat 4,079 entries from more than 40 countries on five continents. The champion cheese received 103 votes, engaging in a close fight with France’s Fromagerie Berthaut which finished strong with 98 votes. According to British judge Jason Hinds, the Spanish cheese had “a flavor that was round and warm.”

The Spanish cheese is a product of Quesos y Besos (Cheeses and Kisses), a factory in southern Spain that is operated by only six employees. Silvia Peláez, the head cheesemaker said, “We are a small cheesemaker in Jaen,” a city in southern Spain best known for its widely exported olives. Olavidia is characterized by olive stone ash layers in the middle.

Around 250 judges, including food scientists, cheese sellers, and chefs were present at the event. They scored the entries based on their look, feel, smell, and taste. The competition began with 88 contestants. In the final round of the judging, where 16 finalists remained, the judges voted by raising cards bearing a number, on a 1 to 10 scale. Olavidia was the last to be judged among the entries. A blue cheese from Oregon called Rogue River Blue was the winner in 2019. The annual cheese competition was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.