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Cheese World Cup: Semi-Finals

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After a frantic few weeks of voting in our Cheese World Cup - and several heated discussions about what constitutes a great cheese (gooeyness? potent flavour? smell?) - you've whittled down the first round of cheesy contenders to four semi-finalists.

Imagine the crowds roaring on from the stands as the next stage of the competition kicks off, with England (Cornish Cheddar) versus France (Vacherin) and Italy (Mozzarella) versus Scotland (Seriously Strong Cheddar). Which two teams will bring home victory with a glorious goal for their fromage? Only you can decide.

Remind yourselves of the arguments for each cheesy hopeful and vote for your favourite from each group by leaving a comment titled "vote" and the name of the cheese you support in the comments section, below. The most popular cheese from each group will bag a coveted place in the Cheese World Cup final next week, with one ultimate winner crowned Cheese Champion.

So what are you waiting for? Wave a flag for your favourite as you get voting, below...

Group A: France Vs England

Chris Dawson, resident cheese expert for Waitrose, explains his love affair with French Vacherin

"Vacherin is France's best kept cheese secret. Versatile, soft and creamy, it's perfect for dinner party cheeseboards or a romantic meal for two. Made in the Savoie region of France, bordering on Switzerland, Vacherin has been made for over 200 years. Using the rich milk from mountain Montbeliard cows, it's considered a powerful weapon in France's cheese artillery. It's only available seasonally, which is why so many cheese connoisseurs wait patiently for the autumn/winter Vacherin season each year. Sold at Waitrose in a wooden spruce box, the cheese has a gloriously aromatic pine aroma, with a slightly pink edible rind. Served simply at room temperature or warmed through in the oven, the pale creamy centre is as gooey as a fondue, and is ideal partner for crusty bread or crisp crudites."

Kerry Newton, dairy technologist at M&S, fights the corner for Cornish Cruncher Cheddar

"This award-winning two-year-old mature cheddar is a best-seller for M&S due to its beautiful combination of savoury and sweet flavours. The crunch part comes from calcium lactate crystals, a natural result of the maturation process – we were one of the first major retailers to develop this. The make-up of cheddar is affected by lots of different factors, from how finely you cut the curd to the type of milk you use and the culture. We work with one dairy in Cornwall and have perfected a particular recipe to ensure outstanding quality. The depth and complexity of Cornish Cruncher Cheddar and the way it contrasts creaminess with acidity and the body of the cheese makes for a delicious taste that makes people go ‘wow’ and want another bite – it’s very moreish."

Group B: Italy Vs Scotland

Kerry Newton, dairy technologist at M&S, is an ardent supporter of Italy's Mozzarella di Buffola

"We source our award-winning buffalo Mozzarella from a site near Naples. It’s very difficult to make Mozzarella to a consistent standard so we use a specific recipe and dedicated, experienced suppliers to ensure top quality cheese. The resulting Mozzarella is light in texture with a sweet, creamy flavour. It’s very delicate and when you cut into it, the milk just oozes out. Many producers use citric acid to make Mozzarella but this often results in it being too dense and rubbery in texture. We require starter culture to make the curd, which is then stretched to form into balls – a traditional method that makes a lovely light Mozzarella that’s beautiful with good quality tomatoes and olive oils in a salad."

Nigel White, Secretary of the British Cheese Board, says Scotland's Seriously Strong Cheddar is the way forward

"Scotland’s Seriously Strong Cheddar is produced in a creamery in Stranraer. It’s one of the biggest producers of Cheddar in Scotland and has a very good reputation. Its taste bridges the gap between tangy Cheddar and meaty, savoury Cheddar – my personal favourites. It’s made from local milk in Stranraer and is just a good all-rounder type of Cheddar that can be used for any purpose."

Vote for your favourite cheese from each group by leaving a message titled "vote" and the name of the cheese in the comments section below

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