America’s Dairyland defended its streak at this year’s U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, taking home top awards as well as 31 competition classes. Over the past year, Wisconsin has won top honors at the country’s three major cheese competitions, according to a press release.
“This winning streak is a testament to the tradition, innovation, and commitment to excellence that Wisconsin dairy farmers and cheesemakers exemplify,” said Suzanne Fanning, Vice President, National Product Communications, of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). “It’s further proof that Wisconsin not only makes the most cheese in the country, but the very best cheese, as well. This starts with producing the finest milk and maintaining the highest standards from the farm to the aging caves and beyond.”
Under the state’s umbrella is Grand Champion Cheese winner and Antigo, Wisconsin-based Sartori’s Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano. Described as an original Italian-style cheese hand-rubbed with cracked black peppercorns, the BellaVitano was made by Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Mike Matucheski.
Wisconsin also claimed the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest’s First Runner Up prize for Aged Cheddar from Agropur and Second Runner Up for Marieke Gouda Belegen.
Additionally, Little Mountain from Shullsburg, Wisconsin-based Roelli Cheese earned Best of Show at the American Cheese Society Competition in July, and Monroe, Wisconsin-based Emmi Roth USA’s Grand Cru Surchoix won the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest.
Wisconsin captured 60 percent of all awards, the WMMB noted, winning 184 awards total, including the top three titles, 62 Best of Class awards, 63 second place, and 56 third place awards.
In turn, 16 of the 20 qualifying Best of Class cheeses were made by Wisconsin cheesemakers, and 53 Wisconsin cheese and dairy companies won one or more awards.
Overall, the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest saw a record-breaking 2,303 entries from 33 U.S. states.