Hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of WA, the annual dairy awards last year, like the Perth Royal Show, fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic and were not held.
Only the beer, wine, distilled spirits, smallgoods, pantry, branded beef, branded lamb, branded poultry, branded pork and bread and pastry categories of The Perth Royal Food Awards were held last year.
While there is still a chance some of the 16 food awards categories may not be held again this year, the dairy awards were back and well supported, according to award organisers.
A team of experienced food judges from the commercial food or food training industries – all from WA this year because of COVID-19 travel risks – volunteered their time to attend the Banksia Room judging over two days recently and tasted 190 dairy products across the 10 awards categories and 65 classes.
Three judges for each category tasted each product – like wine judges, they do not swallow and the product maker is hidden from them – and awarded gold, silver and bronze medals out of a possible maximum score of 100 points.
Up to 50 points were awarded for flavour and aroma, up to 30 for texture and body and up to 20 for presentation, with the cumulative score determining whether a product gained a medal and what colour it was.
The judges also awarded champion awards to the highest points scorer in each of the cheese, bovine cheese, buffalo, camel, goat or sheep milk product, yoghurt, ice cream, gelato, unflavoured milk, flavoured milk, butter, cream and ‘other product’ categories.
All of the judges then help determine the winner of the Western Australian Dairy Grand Champion award as best dairy product overall.
Organisers said award winners were expected to be announced within a month although the usual gala event for the awards presentation will depend on there being no COVID-19 community outbreaks.
While overall dairy competition numbers were down on past years, organisers said this year entries were predominantly dairy products produced in WA, with fewer entries from other States submitted.
Dairy competition champion award winners are eligible to enter next year’s Australian Grand Dairy Awards.
The Perth Royal Show will be held from September 25 to October 2 this year.