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The 'Best Cheese in the World' Isn't French

Sorry, France—the 2016 World Cheese Awards have spoken.
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB

We all know not to fuck with the French and their cheese. They invented Comté, camembert, and croque madames (a.k.a. Some of the Most Delicious Things You Will Ever Put in Your Mouth, Ever), and then figured out a way to mainline the stuff without getting fat.

But it seems one country didn't get le memo about France's Cheese Lord status. At the 2016 World Cheese Awards in San Sebastian—an annual event held by the Guild of Fine Foods—a blue cheese claimed the title of world's best cheese.

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Was that blue fromage a funky Saint Agur? Perhaps the classic Roquefort? No, it was a cheese from Norway known as Kraftkar. Sacré bleu!

Kraftkar is made by cheesemaker Gunnar Waagen on his farm in the fjords of central Norway. It uses unpasteurised cow milk and was praised by the judges for its texture, which crumbles to give "a soft creaminess."

On claiming the award, Waagan said: "I'm totally speechless; this is absolutely fantastic for a small family business."

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Waagen's winning Kraftkar fought off 3,060 competitor cheeses from 35 countries to claim the title. In the Awards' 29-year history, the Best Cheese in the World accolade has been won most often by French and British cheeses.

Of course, Norwegians have long known that their cheeses are prize worthy. Brunost, a type of creamy whey cheese, has been eaten in Norway for centuries, usually with crisp bread and sandwiches, on top of pancakes, or even stirred into hearty beef stews.

Watch out, beef bourguignon.