Get Adobe Flash player

Grilled Cheese Recipe Contest Drives Wisconsin Cheese Sales

It’s almost time for the annual Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown, the largest Wisconsin cheese promotion of the year. Backed by six weeks of marketing and public relations support including digital ads, celebrity judges and more prize money, this year’s promotion will be more successful than ever. Last year’s participating retailers saw up to a 15 percent increase in Wisconsin cheese sales.

This spring, the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown will help create excitement to increase cheese sales for participating retailers. Coverage in national publications including Rachael Ray Every Day and digital media support from Wisconsin cheese provides participating retailers with a menu of tools for custom in-store and online merchandising of the promotion to create a fully integrated omni-channel shopper experience. These customizable assets are designed for retailers to generate impulse sales, cross-merchandise and be promoted on social media. A panel of celebrity judges from national publications and the foodie world will taste and select winners. The event will be covered and winners announced on Facebook Live.

Additionally, regional marketing managers at Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board are working with Wisconsin cheese manufacturers and retailers to create in-store promotions, special branded point of sale displays and live events that encourage sampling and purchase while building awareness for the grilled cheese competition.

Consumers can enter their grilled cheese creations featuring Wisconsin cheese from April 2 through May 15. New to the competition this year, consumers can enter into one of four categories for more ways to win. One grand prize winner will receive $15,000 and be crowned the 2018 grilled cheese champion. More than $25,000 in additional cash and bonus prizes will also be awarded throughout the competition.

For more information about bringing the promotion to a retail store, contact your Wisconsin cheese regional marketing manager. Visit for information on how to enter the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown.

American Cheese Society Launches ACS T.A.S.T.E. Test

The American Cheese Society (ACS) is launching a new certification exam, the ACS T.A.S.T.E. Test™ (Technical, Aesthetic, Sensory, Tasting Evaluation). The exam evaluates cheese professionals’ knowledge and skills in the assessment of cheese, from determining cheese condition and quality to evaluating cheese flavor, body, texture, and appearance. Individuals who pass the exam will earn the title of ACS Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator™, or ACS CCSE™.

The T.A.S.T.E. Test is the second industry certification exam offered by ACS. The first exam, the ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam, was launched in 2012 and has since certified more than 900 cheese professionals. Whereas the ACS CCP Exam® evaluates candidates’ understanding of core competencies common across the majority of cheese industry jobs, the T.A.S.T.E. Test is focused exclusively on the sensory and organoleptic assessment of cheese. It promotes the standardization of cheese professionals’ approach to communicating about these aspects of cheese, benefiting stakeholders at all levels of the cheese production and distribution chain, from cheesemakers to the consumers who purchase and enjoy their cheese.

The T.A.S.T.E. Test is divided into three sections: cheese identification, assessment, and evaluation; single attribute identification; and single flaw/fault identification. Candidates are evaluated against a rigorous and widely respected standard developed using methods employed by the American Dairy Standards Association. Those individuals who pass the exam will receive a lapel pin, embroidered patch, and a certificate, along with the right to call themselves an ACS Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator or ACS CCSE.

“We are excited that our T.A.S.T.E. Test will provide yet another opportunity for cheese professionals to showcase their expertise and differentiate their skillset. It also sets the standard with a common lexicon for how the industry defines and describes cheese,” said Nora Weiser, ACS’ Executive Director.

The ACS T.A.S.T.E. Test will take place on July 25, 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA during Forged in Cheese, the 35th annual ACS Conference and Judging & Competition. Applications will be accepted from February 1 through March 30, 2018, or until spaces are filled. All candidates must meet a set of minimum eligibility requirements including work and/or education hours in the industry, or they must be an ACS Certified Cheese Professional in good standing. Due to the technical nature of its content, the exam is not intended for enthusiasts.

To learn more about the ACS T.A.S.T.E. Test, visit

Green Dirt Farm Wins 2018 Good Food Award for Cheese

PrairieTomme for webGreen Dirt Farm, an artisan cheese maker from Weston, Missouri, just northwest of Kansas City, has won a 2018 Good Food Award for cheese with Prairie Tomme, a rustic, mountain-style, sheep’s milk cheese.

The Good Food Awards celebrate food that is made by producers who are driven by standards and ideals beyond the profit motive. This year’s awards were celebrated on January 19 at an awards ceremony and marketplace in San Francisco to honor Good Food Award recipients.

In its eighth year, Good Food Awards were presented to winners in 15 categories: beer, cider, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, preserved fish, honey, oils pantry, pickles, preserves, spirits and elixirs. Awards were presented to producers from each of five regions of the U.S. Winning products are entitled to use the Good Food Awards Seal on packaging and marketing materials.

“We are thrilled to have won a Good Food Award for Prairie Tomme,” says Green Dirt Founder and Manager Sarah Hoffmann. “This award validates our commitment to making fantastic cheese while also being the very best stewards of our land, our animals and our people. We know that a project like this requires not just a dedicated team and lofty goals, but also a whole community of supporters to make the dream a reality, and we are incredibly thankful for this support!”

Green Dirt Farm has been making award winning cheeses on an Animal Welfare Approved dairy farm northwest of Kansas City since 2008. The company’s cheeses have won numerous accolades, including seven awards at last year’s American Cheese Society Judging & Competition In 2012, the creamery expanded its production to include milk from other nearby dairies that share Green Dirt Farm’s passion for humane animal treatment and environmentally sustainable farm practices.

Find it HERE first!

Follow me on Twitter