Wisconsin wins big at the US Championship Cheese Contest
Wisconsin cheesemakers secured almost half of the 20 finalist honors, including first and second runner-up, winning more awards than any other state during the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest – the largest technical cheese, butter and yogurt competition in the country. Cheese and dairy companies from the state earned 51 Best of Class awards, 63 Second Place awards and 57 Third Place awards. Fifty five Wisconsin dairy companies won one or more cheese awards, and 10 won five or more awards.
In addition, cheesemakers from Wisconsin swept 28 competition classes and Associated Milk Producers Inc., taking second runner-up for medium cheddar. Previously, Wisconsin swept the top three spots in 2017 and claimed second and third in the 2019 contests.
Meanwhile, Red Barn Family Farms from Appleton was named second-best cheese in the country. Paula Homan of Red Barn Family Farms said: “I'd like to acknowledge our small family farmers that work so hard to give us the best milk for our cheeses. Also, thank you to our cheesemaker at Door Artisan Cheese Company and to the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and all their work for helping us to create this wonderful, original recipe cheese.” Cupola Artisan Cheese is a raw cow's milk cheese, developed with CDR exclusively for Red Barn Family Farms and handcrafted in small batches at Door Artisan Cheese Company in Egg Harbor.
The coveted title of US Champion Cheese went to Europe, an aged gouda made by Connecticut-based Arethusa Farm Dairy. With a score of 98.739 out of 100, Europa topped 2,249 entries from 197 dairy companies and cooperatives, while the runner-up from Wisconsin managed a score of 98.613. The second runner-up was a Medium Cheddar by Associated Milk Producers Inc. in Blair, Wisconsin.
Hosted since 1981 by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, the biennial competition involved a team of 42 nationally-renowned judges, who evaluated all entries over the two-day event, held February 21-22 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. For more information on the Contest and complete results for all classes, visit uschampioncheese.org.
John Umhoefer, executive director for the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, said: "The men and women of the U.S. dairy processing industry are exceptionally passionate and dedicated to crafting quality products, and that commitment shines through in the high caliber of this year's winners. We congratulate them on their hard-earned and well-deserved success."