With a whopping 15 new medals to its credit, Schuman Cheese is seeing the fruits of a growing focus on innovation and product development. Several new-to-market varieties earned acclaim, alongside the company’s flagship Cello brand and popular Montforte cheeses.
Three varieties from the just-launched Yellow Door Creamery Alpine collection medaled at the International Cheese Awards (ICA) competition; the collection also earned recognition at the American Cheese Society (ACS) Judging & Competition.
“Seeing our traditional cheeses earn recognition in the industry is gratifying because it means we’re consistently crafting quality cheeses that stand the test of time,” said Christophe Megevand, Head Cheesemaker at Schuman Cheese. “As exciting as that is, it’s also a real delight to see our newest cheeses capturing attention. Bringing exceptional new products to market takes hard work and patience, and these adventurous new flavors are showing us that the effort has been worthwhile.”
Alpine Altu, an earthy, nutty cheese inspired by Gruyere, won ICA’s Best USA Cheese/Washed Rind category, with Alpine Monteau earning a silver medal in the same category. Monteau, which combines intense fruity flavors with a hint of butter and hazelnut, went on to place third in the American Made/International Style Open category at ACS. Also at ACS, a third variety in the collection earned recognition. The Valis, tested under heat to prove its dreamy melting performance, placed third in the Raclette-Style category, under the Washed Rind division.
Bergamot & Hibiscus Rubbed Fontina, a brand new flavor in Yellow Door Creamery’s Hand Rubbed line, finished second in ICA’s Best USA Cheese with Additives category. These rich and creamy fontina wheels get their signature herbal and floral notes from a custom bergamot and hibiscus spice blend that is applied by hand. In the ACA Flavored Cheeses division, a sister variety, Tuscan Rubbed Fontina, also earned recognition with a second place finish in the Rubbed-Rind category.
Schuman’s Montforte cheeses have long been competition favorites, and this year was no exception. Montforte Blue topped the Best USA Cheese/Blue category at ICA, and Montforte Gorgonzola checked in a third in the same category.
A trio of awards for the Cello brand family rounded out the ICA competition. Cello Grated Parmesan finished second in its Grated Cheese (non-UK) category; Cello Fontal took third in the Best USA Soft/Semi Soft category; and the Cello Variety Pack earned a bronze in the Sliced Cheese (non-UK) category.
Schuman’s Cello Organic Copper Kettle Parmesan earned first place, while Cello Artisan Parmesan won third, in the ACS Italian Type Cheeses/Grating category. Cello Fontal took second in the Traditional Regional Cheese category, also in the Italian Type Cheeses division, and Cello Asiago finished in a tie for third in the same category.
The 120th International Cheese Awards at Nantwich combined nearly 5,700 entries from around the globe and 250 expert judges at the world’s largest cheese show. More than 50 different countries participated in this year’s contest.
Laura Chenel’s received two first-place awards and two second-place honors at the American Cheese Society’s 34th annual competition on July 28, 2017, in Denver, Colorado.
Laura Chenel’s Original Medallion placed first in the heavily-populated category of Fresh, Rindless Goat’s milk cheese (aged 30 days or less). The 3.5-ounce fresh chèvre was launched earlier this year along with four other varieties in the brand’s Medallion Collection, offering a unique size and package of fresh goat cheeses that’s the perfect size for a quick snack or practical to unmold and add to a salad plate.
Laura Chenel’s 5-ounce Goat Brie took first place in another popular category: American made, International style, Made from goat’s milk. The soft-ripened wheel’s creation begins with fresh local goat milk that is turned into curd, gently cut and poured into molds. After nine to 14 days of aging, Laura Chenel’s Goat Brie develops a thin bloomy rind and a velvety texture. Grassy and nutty flavors are balanced by hints of lemon and a clean finish.
Taking home second-place honors each were the brand’s 6.2-ounce Cabecou Marinated in Herbs and Spicy Cabecou. With a dense texture, goat cheese disks are hand-packed in olive oil with savory herbs or crushed chiles, respectively, infusing the flavors into the creamy yet tart rounds of chèvre.
“We are both honored and humbled that our fresh and aged chèvre cheeses continue to meet the judges’ expectations for superior products,” said Philippe Chevrollier, General Manager at Laura Chenel’s, Marin French Cheese, and Saint Benoît Creamery. “Laura Chenel’s has garnered 17 awards this year alone, testimony to our commitment to produce only the highest quality, handcrafted goat’s milk cheese…. The efforts of the entire Laura Chenel’s team, together with our collaboration with independent goat farmers in the western region of the U.S., have allowed us to become the standard for American chèvre.”
Sister companies, Marin French Cheese and Saint Benoît Creamery, were also award recipients at the 2017 American Cheese Society competition. Marin French Cheese won a third-place award for its Petite Jalapeño, a 4-ounce soft-ripened wheel that offers a smooth texture and creamy taste that nicely counterbalances the heat from the jalapeños peppers. Saint Benoît Creamery’s Original Yogurt also took a third-place prize in its category, appreciated for its exceptional taste and texture achieved with milk coming only from Jersey cows.
Wisconsin cheesemakers continued their winning streak at this year’s American Cheese Society’s (ACS) annual competition, capturing more awards than any other state for the thirteenth consecutive year. This year’s competition, held in Denver, Colorado, garnered a record 118 ribbons for Wisconsin cheese and dairy products, including 34 Best of Class awards. That’s twice as many as the second-closest state.
Wisconsin cheesemakers, butter and yogurt makers, claimed 29 percent of all awards, including 34 first place ribbons, 35 second place and 49 third place. Out of 108 cheese awards, 56 went to certified Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers.
In addition, Wisconsin cheese and dairy companies swept nine categories:
• Fresh Unripened Cheeses, Cheese Curds – all milks
• American Originals, Brick Cheese – made from cow’s milk
• American Originals, Brick Muenster – made from cow’s milk
• Italian Type Cheeses, Grating Types – all milks
• Flavored Cheeses, Feta with Flavor Added – all milks
• Flavored Cheeses, Rubbed Rind Cheese – all milks
• Smoked Cheeses, Open Category – made from cow’s milk
• Cultured Milk and Cream Products – all milks
• Cheese Spreads, Open Category Cold Pack Style – all milks
Thirty-three Wisconsin companies received one or more awards at the competition. Several companies had particularly strong showings. Klondike Cheese Co. of Monroe took home 14 awards, including first place ribbons for Odyssey Peppercorn Feta and Odyssey 2% Greek Yogurt. Maple Leaf Cheesemakers Inc. of Monroe earned nine awards, with first place ribbons for Aged Brined Twin Grove Gouda, Low-Fat Cheddar, Reduced Fat Cured Gouda and Jalapeño Jack. Edelweiss Creamery of Monticello won eight awards, including firsts in Edelweiss Emmentaler and Tuscan Dream Semi-Soft Italian-Style Cheese. Schuman Cheese of Turtle Lake took home seven awards, with a first place ribbon in Cello Organic Copper Kettle Parmesan.
“We are proud of the talent, passion and dedication that earned our Wisconsin cheesemakers another strong showing at this year’s competition. Wisconsin is honored to be among the many other incredible cheese and dairy products represented from across America.” said Suzanne Fanning, Vice President of National Product Communications at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Wisconsin’s winning streak continues after taking top honors at the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest and 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest. The 2017 ACS competition included a record 2,024 entries from 281 companies from North, Central and South America.