Dale Farm proves it is dish of the day, serving up 21 awards at cheese event
Northern Ireland dairy processor Dale Farm scooped up 21 awards at one of the biggest cheese events in the world.
Now in its 119th year, the 2016 Nantwich International Cheese Awards is regarded as one of the UK's most important cheese festivals.
This year's awards saw 200 industry experts deliberate over a record-breaking 4,956 cheese entries. Those entries came from a mixture of small-batch producers, large dairies and supermarkets.
Dale Farm won 21 awards, including 10 gold awards, four silver, four bronze and three 'very highly commended'.
United Dairies, the Northern Ireland group behind Dale Farm, Dromona and Fivemiletown is the region's largest dairy co-operative.
Among the gold winners were Dromona Mature and Dromona Mild Cheddar, part of one of Northern Ireland's top selling cheese brands. Both products have been made in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, for the past 30 years using milk from Northern Ireland dairy farms.
Two supermarket own-brand products produced by the company, pineapple cottage cheese and Sicilian lemon yoghurt, were also recognised by the judges.
Stephen Cameron, commercial director at Dale Farm, said: "The Nantwich Show attracts cheese and dairy products of the highest standard, so to have received 21 awards across our range is a fantastic result for us and a testament to the excellence and quality of our entire product portfolio.
"We pride ourselves on the quality of cheeses produced, and to continue to build on our success from 2015 with an additional 10 awards is a huge achievement.
"Without the dedication and expertise of our cheese-makers, and milk from our 1,300 farmer owners, winning these awards just wouldn't be possible."
Over the last 12 months, cheese production at Dale Farm has more than doubled. The Northern Ireland dairy processor is owned by 1,300 farmers and is the largest in the UK.