How to Judge Dairy Products

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Brie & Camembert


Condition of rind, too thick, too dry, wet, nice and even, thin, foreign mould.


Paste, too firm, too runny and breaking away from rind, rind too chewy or thick, browning, or brown spots.

Flavour and aroma

True to type? Any off odours or flavours such as over ammoniated, dirty flavour, or clean, buttery and Soft Ripened mushroomy, complex or lacks complexity. Salt levels, too high, too low, acidity levels incorrect, no bitterness.




Fresh means fresh, no rind development.


Haloumi must be squeaky and non-melting.

Flavour and aroma

Good clean flavour and aroma. Haloumi to be buttery, no dirty notes.

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Cheddar - Vintage


No mould, may have some crystallisation on the surface, not too much, no free whey in bag.


Short/crumbly, not pasty or mealy.

Flavour and aroma

Typical aged cheddar flavour, may have some sweetness. No sulphur notes, exessive sour or flat/rancid flavour. Should be balanced in mouth and leaving taster wanting more.

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Plain Milk


No unusal colour or breakdown of fat.


Looking for a sweet, fresh smell. No off odours, such as weedy, oxidized, rancid.


Fresh and not oxidised, stale or sour. No unusual taints.


Good mouth feel, rounded and smooth, not watery.

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Ice Cream


Is the ice cream in a tub? Where is the fill line, eg. is it underfilled? Is the surface icey?


For texture, the judges look at the mouthfeel. If the product is high fat, it should be warm in the mouth. If low fat, it will be cooler but not icey. The ice cream should not be grainy or sandy.


For flavour, what ever flavour is added, it needs to have a good representation of the natural flavour, not too artificial.


then the eating experience is questioned. Can you still taste the ice cream? Is the base ice cream good quality? Is the ice cream too aerated?

Image by Alison Marras


For natural yoghurt, judges are looking for good clean acidity, no free whey on top, no under fill. They will question if the body is weak or too firm? With all the added flavours, it is important that it is true to flavour, eg honey - actually tastes like honey! Judges will consider if the flavour is too over powering or is it balanced? If there is fruit at the bottom, eg strawberry, then is it a good strawberry flavour or unidentifiable? If the fruit or flavour needs to be stirred through, does it stir well and is it balanced once stirred?

The judges look at acidity levels. Is it too low or too high? Is the acidity clean? In relation to flavour, judges might comment that the product lacks fine flavour. Meaning is it unnatural tasting, too sweet, flavour of stabilizer is prominent and unclean.

Judges will also be looking at the following elements and points will be removed if criteria is not met:

Product seal integrity.

Difficulty in opening or accessing product safely.

Foreign matter present (clearly not introduced by judging or transport).

If a minimum sample quantity is not provided.

Reallocation to the correct class for judging.

The above judging criteria and comments have been provided for the purpose of education and do not represent the views, opinions or position of judges, officials or the RA&HS. Any resemblance to actual persons, competitors, or exhibits living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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