In 1960 a new tradition was born in The Netherlands, cheese country par excellence: the Dutch National Cheese Connoisseur Contest (NNKC) was established. The aim of NNKC at that time was to promote the expertise of individuals involved in or working in the cheese sector. Expertise relating to the complete range of cheese varieties produced in The Netherlands!
63 years later, thanks in part to these contests, the expertise and knowledge of the Dutch cheese sector have reached an unprecedented level. Each year, approximately 600 participants take part in the NNKC cheese connoisseur contest. NNKC is thus the largest professional competition in The Netherlands. It is not the product that is judged, but the craftsmanship of the individual!
During the contest, participants from the cheese industry, trade, specialty stores, retail, and knowledge institutes, are presented with ten cheese samples. The judges who can best describe the type, age, taste, and quality are awarded prizes.
For the top judges, there are bronze, silver, and gold medals to be won. The overall winner receives the chain with Golden Cheese Drill! This is the prestigious prize in the Dutch cheese world (see also list of winners). The prizes are awarded during a festive show evening with networking opportunities afterwards. Attendees also receive a generously filled goodie bag to take home.
Gemzu (organization for dairy trade) and the NZO (organization for dairy industry) appoint members to the NNKC board. The board members are:
Yves Vancoillie, (voorzitter), Royal FrieslandCampina
Teunis van der Heiden (vice voorzitter), Van der Heiden Cheese Services
Klaas Hokse, Rouveen Kaasspecialiteiten
Ron Krekels, DOC Dairy Partners
Ron Lekkerkerker, Trade & Valorization Industrial Cheese
Joyce van Mill, Visser Kaas