Top NZ Cheese Stores unveiled

Top NZ Cheese Stores unveiled

Twenty-nine recipients have been recognised in this year’s Top NZ Cheese Store accolade, which acknowledges the passion of New Zealand’s finest cheese retailers and gives Kiwi cheese lovers a guide to finding the best NZ Cheese. Barrys Bay Cheese; Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese; Moore Wilson’s; Sabato and several Farro stores are listed among the Gold accolade winners.

This is the fourth year of the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) Top NZ Cheese Store accreditation programme, which is announced at the beginning of October – aka NZ Cheese Month. NZSCA Chair, Simon Lamb says a comprehensive review of the programme introduced mystery shoppers who visited stores assessing them on the selection of NZ cheese, the knowledge of the staff serving their cheese and whether the store had the ability to cut cheese fresh from the wheel.

“Another evolution is the introduction of Gold, Silver and Bronze accolades to underscore the commitment of different types of stores to bring consumers the best New Zealand cheese experiences. Gold Top NZ Cheese Stores are the epitome of NZ Cheese retail experience – they have the knowledge, a wide of selection of NZ Cheese and create a premium shopping experience,” he said. While Bronze Top NZ Cheese Stores have been recognised for having a wide selection of NZ cheese only.

“Stores in smaller centres and supermarkets with a wide and varied selection of NZ Cheese deserve to be recognised. Without supermarkets supporting local cheesemakers from their region, small NZSCA cheesemakers would have limited options to sell their artisan cheeses, and the Association wanted to recognise retailers who help ensure the viability of the NZ cheese industry,” Simon Lamb said.

The Top NZ Cheese Stores highlights the passion, dedication, and expertise of retailers while promoting the rich tapestry of New Zealand’s cheese culture. This is particularly important as many small, boutique cheesemakers are facing unprecedented business challenges, Simon Lamb said.

Gold Accolade – The Epitome of Excellence

Stores that have achieved the coveted Gold Top NZ Cheese status are the indisputable cream of the crop. They go above and beyond to offer consumers an unrivalled cheese journey, providing:

–        A vast selection of NZ Cheese: Gold stores feature an extensive and diverse collection of New Zealand’s finest cheeses, catering to the most discerning palates.

–        Expert knowledge about NZ Cheese: Staff at Gold stores are true cheese connoisseurs, capable of guiding customers through the intricate world of New Zealand cheese with unmatched expertise.

–        NZ Cheese Cutting: Gold stores excel in the art of cheese pairing and offer on-the-spot cutting of New Zealand cheese from whole wheels, ensuring freshness and perfection in every bite.

Silver Accolade – NZ Cheese Excellence

Silver-awarded stores have mastered the art of offering excellence in two of the following three areas:

–        NZ Cheese Selection: Silver stores boast a diverse and delectable range of New Zealand cheeses, ensuring customers have access to a delightful variety.

–        Knowledge: Their staff is well-versed in all things cheese, providing customers with valuable insights and recommendations about New Zealand cheese.

–        NZ Cheese Cutting: Silver stores offer exceptional cheese pairing expertise and may cut New Zealand cheese from wheels to enhance freshness and flavour.

Bronze Accolade – A Chiller Brimming with NZ Cheese

–        A Bronze NZ Cheese Store has a chiller brimming with a fantastic selection of New Zealand cheese. These stores have a wide array of delightful NZ Cheeses, providing customers with the opportunity to explore the richness of New Zealand’s cheese offerings.

Top NZ Cheese Stores recipients are spread across the country from Northland to North Otago, with stores run by cheesemakers to bustling urban outlets and cosy rural delis, all showcasing their exceptional selection of New Zealand cheese. Newcomers to this year’s list of 29 stores include the recently opened ‘Origin Northland’ in Waipu run by the owners of NZ Champions of Cheese Award-winning Belle Chèvre Creamery and the Mahoe Cheese Shop in the Bay Islands a farmhouse cheese shop by Mahoe Cheese, a regular Champion from the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards. For the first time, FreshChoice Nelson City has been recognised with a Bronze accolade as have four Raeward Fresh stores in the South Island.

Shoppers will recognise the 29 stores when they’re shopping as each Top NZ Cheese Store receives promotional materials – as well as bragging rights!

For more information about Top NZ Cheese Store 2024 and to discover the award-winning stores near you, please visit

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