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.