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By SHELLEY TOPP

Loburn cheesemaker Karikaas was a big winner at last month’s New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

The company has been a consistent winner at the annual awards for many years.

This year, the two goudas it entered collected gold meals, and all of its other entered cheeses were recognised with medals, national sales manager Akash Charles said.

Karikaas has been making gouda since the 1980s. It is the company’s flagship cheese.

“We also make cumin, pepper, leyden, vegetarian leyden, garlic, herb, vintage gumin, maasdam, vintage maasdam, vintage spice and pumahana (cheeses), plus pure low-sugar yoghurts and quark,” Akash says.

“Our vintage gouda and young gouda both won gold medals this year.”

In addition, Karikaas cheeses won four silver medals and three bronzes at the awards.

The new vintage range was launched last November in partnership with BRaid (Braided River Aid).

“We wanted to highlight the endangered birds in our local Ashley-Rakahuri River,” Akash says.

“We put line drawings of four birds on our boxes, and pictures of their eggs.”

The idea behind the project is to raise money for the Rangiora-based Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group to help fund the work it does protecting the birds.

A percentage of each sale price is donated to the group.

“We also hope that the increased visibility and awareness will reduce human impact on these stunning creatures,” he says.

Karikaas staff are also encouraged to take part in different events organised by BRaid and the Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group.

The chairman of both groups, Nick Ledgard, makes regular visits to the Karikaas factory with updates for the staff.