Get Adobe Flash player

Vermont Creamery Wins Big at U.S. Championship Cheese Contest

Vermont Creamery was honored for achievement in artisan cheesemaking this week with three awards at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest (USCCC) held biennially in Wisconsin.

VC_MVCF_8OZ_2014Vanilla Crème Fraîche won “Best in Class” while Cultured Butter with Sea Salt and Maple and St. Albans both took third place in their respective categories.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by our peers in the cheese community, especially in the good company of other Vermont cheesemakers,” said Allison Hooper, co-Founder of Vermont Creamery. “These awards are the result of our entire team’s commitment to quality and innovation in cheesemaking.”

VC_STALBANS_FULL_ANGLE_GMO_2016This is the first USCCC award for St. Albans, the newest aged cheese to join the lineup; in 2015, Vermont Creamery products took home five USCCC awards.

This year, the contest garnered a record 2,303 entries, up 22 percent from the previous contest in 2015. Forty-eight judges from nineteen states evaluated all of the entries across 101 classes. Vermont Creamery’s Cultured Butter with Sea Salt and Maple took third in a new category—flavored butter.

Schuman Cheese Scores at U.S. Championships

A trifecta of wins, including two top-20 finalists, continued a tradition of excellence for Schuman Cheese at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, held March 7-9 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Three best of class awards, and a third place finish, made for another strong showing for this leading Italian cheese company at the biennial competition.

Among the top 20 finalists, selected as the best of 2,303 entries in the competition, was Yellow Door Creamery’s Hand Rubbed Fontina. This best of class entry in the Open Class Flavored Semi-soft (Semi-hard) Cheeses category is the result of smooth and creamy Fontina wheels that are hand-rubbed with vibrant spice blends from around the globe and naturally aged for over 60 days. The winning variety – Harissa Hand Rubbed Fontina – offers a smoky blend of chili, cumin and caraway seed paired with the rich and nutty flavor of fontina.

Schuman’s other top 20 finalist, also earning best of class honors in the Blue Veined Cheeses category, was a Montforte Bleu Wheel. Crafted in the old-world tradition of artisan cheesemakers, Montforte Bleu’s savory tangy flavor is enhanced by its characteristic blue marble veining, giving it smooth and creamy undertones that lend a decadent bite to a rich risotto and a host of other recipes.

Rounding out the first place finishes was Cello Shredded Parmesan in the Open Class Shredded Cheese, Flavored & Unflavored category. The deep, nutty, caramel character of this flavorful parmesan is the result of the 12-plus months of natural aging each wheel undergoes to reach maturity before shredding.

Cello Copper Kettle Parmesan also earned recognition at the contest with a third place award in the Parmesan category. The rich, nutty flavor of authentic Italian Grana Padano is made in traditional copper kettles and aged over 20 months. A crunchy texture and robust flavor are the result of high-quality ingredients, bringing in natural sea salt and aging in a temperature-controlled environment. Each wheel is hand-selected once its intense flavor profile has reached the peak of perfection for a true culinary delight.

This year marked the 19th biennial U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, which is hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. Entries across 100 classes were evaluated by a team of skilled technical judges selected from across the country in areas such as flavor, body and texture, salt, color, finish, packaging and other appropriate attributes.

Wisconsin Sweeps Top Three Spots at 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest

Marieke Penterman of Marieke Gouda in Thorp, Wisconsin, with her USCCC Second Runner-Up Marieke Gouda Belegen; Mike Matucheski of Sartori Cheese in Antigo, Wisconsin with his Grand Champion Sartori Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano, and Terry Lensmire of Agropur in Weyauwega, Wisconsin with his First Runner-Up Cheddar, Aged One to Two Years, at the Cheese Champion Reception in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

Marieke Penterman of Marieke Gouda in Thorp, Wisconsin, with her USCCC Second Runner-Up Marieke Gouda Belegen; Mike Matucheski of Sartori Cheese in Antigo, Wisconsin with his Grand Champion Sartori Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano, and Terry Lensmire of Agropur in Weyauwega, Wisconsin with his First Runner-Up Cheddar, Aged One to Two Years, at the Cheese Champion Reception in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

Wisconsin cheesemakers continued their historic winning streak at the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, sweeping the top awards and 31 competition classes. With the title of Grand Champion Cheese going to Sartori’s Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano, Wisconsin has won top honors at the country’s three major cheese competitions over the past year.

Little Mountain from Roelli Cheese earned Best of Show at the American Cheese Society Competition in July, and Emmi Roth USA’s Grand Cru Surchoix won the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest, marking the first sweep of this kind.

“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.”

Made by Master Cheesemaker Mike Matucheski, Sartori’s Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano is an original Italian-style cheese hand-rubbed with cracked black peppercorns. The contest’s award for first runner up went to Aged Cheddar from Agropur. Marieke Gouda Belegen was the second runner up.

With a record-breaking 2,303 entries from 33 U.S. states, the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest is the largest technical cheese, butter and yogurt competition in the country. Wisconsin captured 60 percent of all awards, winning 184 awards total, including the top three titles, 62 Best of Class awards, 63 second place, and 56 third place awards.

Gourmet News

Follow me on Twitter