Wisconsin cheesemakers dominated the competition at the recent World Championship Cheese Contest, winning 106 awards—about 39 percent—of the total 273 awards given, including 38 Best of Class, 34 second place and 34 third place awards.
Wisconsin’s accomplishment represented five times the number of awards as those won by the closest competitor, Switzerland with 21. Switzerland also claimed the contest’s World Championship Cheese prize with Original Schweizer Rohmilch Emmentaler and second runner-up to the winner with Fromagerie Moleson Gruyère AOP. Austria was first runner-up for Erzherzog Johann cheese.
This year’s contest marked the third consecutive World Championship in which Wisconsin has improved its share of total award wins, claiming 30.8 percent in 2008, 31.3 percent in 2010 and 37.8 percent in 2012.
“Wisconsin’s record of exceptional performance speaks to the high quality of milk from Wisconsin dairy farms, where all our cheesemaking begins,” said Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Chief Executive Officer, James Robson. “Add to that the fact that Wisconsin has the highest concentration of great cheesemakers in the world, and you’ve got a combination that’s hard to challenge.”
Wisconsin also was the leader in Best of Class medals, winning 38, and swept 11 of 90 competition classes: Bandaged Cheddar (Sharp to Aged), Aged Provolone, Parmesan, Flavored Havarti, Brick (including Muenster), Aged Gouda, Smoked Gouda, Hard Hispanic Cheeses, Cold Pack Cheese (including Cheese Food), Cold Pack Cheese Spread and Open Class: Shredded Cheese.
Additionally, graduates of Wisconsin’s elite Master Cheesemaker® program, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, had an outstanding performance, taking home a total of 29 awards.