A recent ranking of the world’s best cheeses has sparked controversy among the French foodie community. TasteAtlas, a website dedicated to local dishes from around the world that frequently ranks cuisines, published the results on 13 February and no French cheese had made it to the top 10.
The French were outraged, media TF1 asking if the ranking is rigged. Following the backlash, TasteAtlas explained that they only count votes and it is the people that ultimately rank the dishes. Founder Matt Babich clarified in a blog post that their methodology has checks in place ensuring that votes from users that have skewed behaviours, for example only giving high grades to food from just one country, are not taken into account.
“The methodology of TasteAtlas is seemingly simple. Visitors vote, and we tally the votes and publish the rankings. Our key mechanism is a system we developed that differentiates genuine from invalid votes. We track the visitor’s behaviour on our web, we track all his ratings, and depending on whether the system recognizes him as a real visitor or as a nationalist or a bot, his votes are recognized or ignored”, Babich explained.
We love French food. But if French foods are doing a bit worse in popular opinion at the moment, it might be more useful if they ask themselves what they are doing wrong.Matt Babich, TasteAtlas Founder
“We love French food. But if French foods are doing a bit worse in popular opinion at the moment, it might be more useful if they ask themselves what they are doing wrong with their marketing and promotion of their food in times when more and more people are not looking for theatre and show while eating, but simply great flavors”, Babich defended the ranking.
However, after defending their methodology, the ranking was still updated on the website, with the French Saint-André being included at number 7 and Crottin de Chavignol at number 8. Whereas before 8 of the 10 best cheeses in the world were Italian, now only 6 of them are at the top, the ranking having also moved the Portuguese Queijo Serra da Estrela from 8th to 2nd place.
At the moment, these are the 10 best cheeses in the world, according to TasteAtlas: