Gouda Cheese Awards is a prestigious cheese competition held in Gouda, The Netherlands. It is not a technical cheese evaluation, but a neutral taste test where consumers participate as tasters and judges. The thrilling final usually takes place live, and where else but in Gouda? The setting is the traditional Gouda Cheese Market, where farmers and traders still negotiate the price with a handshake.

Participation in the Gouda Cheese Awards is open to all Dutch cheese brands. Producers, trading companies, and retailers - everyone can participate as long as their entry complies with the competition rules.

Every year, two categories of cow- and/or goat cheese are tested.

The whole cheeses that are submitted are cut by cheese experts and offered anonymously to Essensor, a company that conducts qualitative and quantitative taste research on behalf of businesses and institutions. In these studies, consumers act as the tasters. Essensor has a panel database of over 800 individuals who have a good sense of taste and can articulate their impressions clearly.

All participants receive a jury report from Essensor about their cheese.

Only three finalists per category advance to the final in Gouda. The winners receive a gold, silver, or bronze distinction and can proudly claim their cheese as the tastiest in the Netherlands in their respective category for a year!