Sunny Day for Sonntag

Vegan Cheese 2023 judges

The Supreme Winner of the third annual Vegan Society Vegan Cheese Awards is Sonntag, with their delicious “Cumin Gouda Style”.

The judges said it was “firm and dense with wonderful balanced flavour, perfectly complemented by the cumin. Brilliant texture.”

What a great finale to the morning of cheese tasting that occurred at Khu Khu Eatery in Ponsonby yesterday.

Plant-based cheeses continue to increase in number and with more people improving their cheese-making skills, the awards are set to raise the bar for vegan cheese. This is great news for the Kiwi consumer, especially with the price of dairy products rising, it means no one misses out on cheesy goodness. There are many advantages of plant-based cheeses, including being great for your health, as they contain no cholesterol and being good for the environment, as they use less resources to produce.

Introducing a new judge for the Awards, Executive Chef Sid Chopra, whose proudest achievement is his creation of a whole separate Vegan Menu at Prego Restaurant, Sid joins Food and Beverage Industry judge Aaron Pucci, who wants more manufacturers to take up the challenge of sustainable food operations and reducing their carbon footprint.

President of NZ Chef Association Auckland, Jasbir “Jazz” Kaur, who is the creative head and chef of the new series “Ignite the Chef in You” and our erstwhile favourite funny man, vegan comedian Tom Sainsbury, whose palate has grown quite accustomed to reaching the full depths of these delicious plant-based cheeses complete the judging panel.

As supermarkets continue to report increased sales of plant-based products, the demand for vegan cheese will only increase. The cost of dairy continues to increase, making price parity of vegan alternatives a reality in 2023. For the winning cheesemakers, a Vegan Society Award winner lets the public know which vegan cheese really is the best.

The winners and runners up are:

Supreme Winner

Winner; Sonntag ‘Cumin Gouda Style’

Judges said; Firm and dense with wonderful balanced flavour, perfectly complemented by the cumin. Brilliant texture.

Commercial Cheddar

Winner; Epic ‘Smoked Cheddar’

Judges said; Lovely after taste nice neutral flavour which could contrast with anything.

Runner Up; Angel Food ‘Smoked Cheddar’

Judges said; Stand out creamy texture and lovely taste.

Flavoured Cheese

Winner Savour ‘Chipotle’

Judges said; Good flavour. Unique flavour- chipotle not overpowering- a good balance.

Joint Runners Up

Savour ‘Ash’

Judges said; Good sharpness. Ash gives a good aftertaste and appealing colour.

Savour ‘Mint’

Judges said; A good dessert cheese. Good fluffy texture, great accompaniment to sauteed peas or green pea soup. A refreshing cheese.


Winner; Nu Dairy

Judges said; Stand out taste- clean fresh flavour. Stretch and elasticity perfect for pizza.

Runner Up: Zenzo

Judges said; Great on pizza with good colour and stretch.

Surface Ripened

Winner Savour ‘Cashbert’

Judges said; Creamy texture with a good aftertaste.

Runner Up; Let Them Eat Vegan; ‘Creamy Camembert

Judges said; Firm yet creamy texture with good melt


Winner; Zenzo

Judges said; Very tasty, with well-balanced salt. Texture is firm and creamy.

Runner Up; One Love Planet ‘The Greek’

Judges said; Unique tangy flavour. Very summery, fresh balanced cheese.

Cream Cheese

Winner; Grater Goods ‘Garlic and Herb’.

Judges said; Flavour robust with airy, fluffy, creamy texture. Eaten on its own or with crackers. A unique tangy flavour.

Joint Runners Up:

Angel Food ‘Cream Cheese’

Judges said; Great, authentic tasty cream cheese. Taste and texture are moreish.

Nu Dairy ‘Cream Cheese’

Judges said; Texture spreadable. Great accompaniment to jam on a bagel..

Soft Cheese

Winner; Savour ‘Chipotle’ 

Judges said; You can taste every flavour. They are balanced yet they stand out individually. Presentation is beautiful. Looks good on a cheese board.

Runner Up; High Culture ‘Buche Provençal Garlic and Fine Herb’

Judges said; Achieved good appearance and flavour. Moreish and rich. Balanced acidity and salt with the right amount of herbs.


Winner; Sonntag ‘Cumin Gouda Style’

Judges said; Firm and dense with wonderful balanced flavour, perfectly complemented by the cumin. Brilliant texture.

Runner Up; One Love Planet ‘Smoked Gaudi’

Judges said; Great bite. Rich cheese offset with a dusting of spice.

Artisan Cheddar

Winner; One Love Planet “Drunken Irish Cheddar”

Judges said; Lovely sharp flavours well balanced and tasty

No Runner Up

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