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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 19:24 GMT 20:24 UK
Royal cheese scoops two prizes
Prince Charles
Prince Charles checks out the competition
The Prince of Wales has won two awards at the British Cheese Awards in Gloucestershire.

The prince entered his own brand of cheese made from organic unpasteurised milk from Ayrshire cows grazing at his Highgrove home.

The cheese, called Starvall Royal, won gold awards for the best new cheese and the best unpasteurised semi-soft .

Organisers said the prince's status would not have swayed judges as they were tasting blind with all 729 entries in the cheese awards unidentified.

British Cheese
There are more than 400 varieties of British cheese
98% of British households eat it
The British eat more than 590,000 tons of cheese a year
Cheddar is the nation's favourite
Charles was one of 150 cheese-makers hoping to win a prize at the three-day event in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire.

It is the first time Charles has been a competitor in the awards, which are now in their eighth year.

A panel of expert judges tested each of the 729 varieties entered in 55 classes before deciding on the winners.

"It was great to have him at the festival and to have him make his own cheese was even better," said festival organiser Julie Harbutt.

His cheese was entered under the name Highgrove and will not be for sale.

Royal jokes

The Prince, who is patron of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, presented a trophy he designed himself for the best raw milk cheese.

The award went to Kevin and Alison Blunt from Essex for their cheese, Golden Cross, made from soft, ripened goats' cheese.

The trophy was presented in honour of the late cheesemaker, James Aldridge, who died of cancer earlier this year.

The awards precede the British Cheese Festival, a weekend extravaganza featuring 450 different types of cheese to taste and buy.

About 15,000 cheese fans are expected to visit Stow for the festival.

As Charles tasted some of the entries he said: "The things I do for England!"

Judge Graham Cassie said: "He certainly knows his stuff. He was very accurate and spot-on with his analogy of cheeses.

"He asked how many cheeses we eat in a day and when I said it was the best part of 100, he said I would need to go on a diet at the end of it."

Addressing the exhibitors, the Prince said: "I don't think I have ever eaten so much cheese in my life.

"I have now got cheese in my teeth, up my nose, in my trouser turn-ups and on the bottom of my shoes."

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