We’re well on our way to finishing 2018’s first chapter, but before January draws to a close, it’s important to note the fast-approaching January 31st deadline to enter the World Championship Cheese Contest, slated for March 6-8 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
Organizers of the event are excited at the exponential growth the event has seen in recent years, as judges make their way through the incomprehensibly difficult task of choosing the best cheese, butter, and yogurt.
“We’re on track to break all previous contest entry records. We’re especially excited to see cheesemakers entering the competition from countries that have never participated in the Contest in years past,” said Kirsten Strohmenger, WCMA Events Manager, in a recent press release. “As consumer trends and the craft of cheesemaking evolve, so too does the World Championship Cheese contest. These adaptations ensure that every cheesemaker from every part of the world has the opportunity for expert technical evaluation and a chance at the title—World Champion Cheese!”
New cheese classes are one reason for the increased participation this year, according to organizers. And in 2018, the Contest judges will take on 121 classes of dairy products, with new categories for traditional waxed and natural rind cheddars, Romano, paneer, an open class for hard cheeses with natural rinds, and goat and sheep’s milk cheeses galore. Evaluating the entries is an expert panel of judges comprised of cheese graders, cheese buyers, dairy science professors, and researchers making the trek from 20 countries and 15 states to the Madison, Wisconsin-based event. The panel has grown this year to better assess all entries; you can find a full list of the judges here.
“We’re ready and excited to evaluate thousands of products from around the world,” said Robert Aschebrock, Contest Chief Judge and veteran USDA dairy grader.
Previous World Championship Cheese Contest winners have enjoyed not only the thrill of victory, but of greater consumer interest in their products.
“Emmi Roth USA won in competition and in the marketplace following the Contest,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director, in another press release to give an example of just how great the rewards can be when entering the Contest. “When shoppers see the World Championship Cheese Contest medal on a product label, they know they’re buying something special.”
As we make strides into 2018, don’t miss out on the opportunity to possibly take home the title this year. The deadline is right around the corner for those with their eyes on the prize. Good luck, friends!