In early November, the city of Oviedo in Spain hosted a cheese festival where awards were given out to the world’s best cheeses. Andre Salute cheese, which was jointly developed by Andre Farm and the University of Tartu and contains a strain of lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 discovered by UT scientists, was awarded the bronze medal.
The World Cheese Awards took place for the 33rd time. The competition was founded and is run by The Guild of Fine Food established in 1995 in the United Kingdom, whose purpose is to support and acknowledge independent food and drink producers. This year’s competition featured 4079 cheeses from producers from 45 countries.
“By adding Andre Salute to our product range, we took our first step in the world of functional foods,” says owner of Andre Farm Erika Pääbus when commenting on the partnership with the university.
“Functional foods are a completely undiscovered topic in the world of cheese, so there are not yet any separate cheese categories for this in international competitions. In this competition, our Salute cheese competed in the category of Gouda-type cheeses,” Pääbus adds.
According to the owner of Andre Farm, the value of Salute cheese lies in its quality and the fact that it contains ME-3. Pääbus was doubtful of the success of the cheese in the Gouda category, as ME-3’s antimicrobial qualities tend to hamper the work of bacteria responsible for enriching the taste of the cheese. The greater was the surprise when Andre Salute was declared worthy of a bronze medal. “Judges do not know anything about the origin or ingredients of cheeses when they judge them, as the evaluation procedure takes place as a blind-tasting,” says Pääbus.
This year, Andre Salute was also acknowledged at the Best Farm Food competition organised by the Estonian Farmers’ Federation, where the judges deemed the collaboration of Andre Farm and UT the most delicious product in the Best Farm Cheese category.
Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 is a strain of bacteria discovered by a team of UT scientists in 1995 and subsequently thoroughly studied. The bacterium has scientifically proven antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. It is used in AS Tere’s Hellus product range, Andre Farm’s Salute cheese, Chocolala artisan chocolate and Balbiino ice creams. The strain of bacterium is also sold in around 15 countries all over the world as food additive capsules.