More than 100 of the nearly 500 cheeses to be judged, at St Mary’s Church on Thursday, will come from the Emerald Isle, produced by 25 of the top Irish artisan cheese makers.
A number of them will travel over themselves with the cheeses to attend the Artisan Cheese Fair, at Melton Livestock Market, on the weekend of May 5 and 6.
Organiser of the awards Matthew O’Callaghan, of the Melton Mowbray Food Partnership, said; “I’m really delighted to have so many of Ireland’s incredible cheeses coming over here for the awards and the fair.
“However, there’s a lot of award-winning cheeses produced in the UK as well, from the tip of Scotland right down to Cornwall, and there’s a great deal of excitement as to who will win the coveted Supreme Champion trophy with a £1,000 cash prize.”
Those who attend the awards event on Thursday can get an insight into how to assess the quality of a cheese from head judge Tim Brown, of Melton Cheeseboard.
Mr O’Callaghan said: “Attendees will be given the opportunity to don one of the award judges’ aprons and learn from a cheese judge how to judge cheese with the real examples in front of them.”
After the judging, there will be a chance for the public to sample some of their favourites at a special event at 7pm in the church.
Awards organisers have got together with the church to host a ‘Cheese Feast’ where, for £5, cheese lovers can wander round and taste some of the finest cheeses in the British Isles washed down with a complimentary glass of wine.
All the money raised will go to the St Mary’s restoration fund.
Mr O’Callaghan added: “This is the first time we’ve done this and we are hoping lots of people come along.”