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Bellucci’s Sicilia PGI Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

One of the world’s most prized liquid treasures is Sicilian extra virgin olive oil. Sicily is an island woven from a fusion of cultures that has resulted in a rich and varied genetic legacy. With its dry summers, lashed by the Sirocco Saharan winds, as well as its balmy winter, the temperate climate influences the spirit of the organic olive trees that have been part of the fertile island since its inception.

bellucci editphoto1To get closer to this island’s treasure groves and fully appreciate the fruits of human toil, Bellucci unveiled at the Winter Fancy Food Show its freshly harvested Sicilia PGI Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the newest addition to its Legendary Series. True to its cultivars and origin, Sicilia PGI Organic coats the palate with hints of almond and savory undertones of artichoke, coupled with green tomato. It’s unlike any other extra virgin olive oil – a truly authentic gem.

Why is its PGI certification so important? In 2016, the European Commission approved the Protected Geographical Indication PGI ‘Sicilia’ (Sicily) for extra virgin olive oil produced on the island. Such certifications (PGI) by the European Union promote the development of specific rural regions and populations, which are related to agricultural products with special quality characteristics and protect the interests of both growers and consumers. It is transparency at its best in the greater fight against food fraud.

Consumers seeking greater on-label visibility into the origins of the food in their shopping basket are on the rise. Shoppers seek new depths of information across the market, including organic, responsible production and authenticity. At Bellucci, the mission is to bring “Trust Through Traceability” to the market.

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

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