Sweet or savoury, the Royal Queensland food and wine show kicking off today has it all.

The stage is set for the judging of cheese and dairy produce at the RNA showgrounds this week.

Bonny O’Shea reports.


Today, a crack team of six judges and one associate led by the internationally renowned chief judge Russell Smith, will begin the tricky task of tasting three-hundred-and-seventy-six entries.

Judging is quite a complex process.

Russell Smith, Chief Judge: “So what we’re doing here is we’re looking at the presentation of the cheese, it wants to look good, we then taste it or we put it in our mouths, assess the texture, give it a score for the texture and then we think about the flavour so we’re looking at those three aspects.”

Mr Smith says the show has become renowned, cheeses judged highly here are world class standard.

Winning one of these coveted awards has two main purposes. They’re used for marketing benefits, but more importantly producers say they are a great motivator for the hard-working team in the cheese factory back at home.

Meanwhile, some of the volunteer stewards keep coming back for more.

Mr Fred Slatter, Honorary Council Steward:”Well it’s my 50th year without a break and I was fortunate enough to be able to turn up to every show in the 50 years and this one as far as the dairy produce is concerned – it’s 20 years.”

And if cheese doesn’t excite you, don’t worry, there’ll be chocolate, ice-cream and gelato later in the week, with champion produce awarded in each category.

But who gets to taste the award-winning cheeses after the judging takes place?

Mr Fred Slatter, Honorary Council Steward; “Oh yes yes, I look after that.”

It’s a serious business, but someone’s got to do it.

Bonny O’Shea, QUT News.