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MADISON (AP)

A cheese made in the United States has won the World Championship Cheese Contest for the first time since 1988.

The top prize was awarded in Madison on March 9 to a smear-ripened hard cheese made in Monroe, Wisconsin, by Fitchburg-based Emmi Roth USA, which is a subsidiary of Switzerland-based Emmi Group.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the last cheese from the U.S. to win the competition was when Dale Olson of Burnett Dairy Cooperative in northwestern Wisconsin won for a string cheese.

"This is very humbling," Tim Omer, president of Swiss-owned Emmi Roth USA, told the excited cheese- and wine-fueled crowd, according to the paper. "Our cheese makers in Monroe, our cheesemakers in Platteville and our cheesemakers in Schullsburg, they are killing it everyday."

The first runner-up in the biennial contest was a smear-ripened semi-soft cheese made by Johannes Schefer of Switzerland, while second runner-up was an aged Gouda from Friesland Campina Export in the Netherlands. A cheese from Switzerland had won four of the last five competitions.

The following Wisconsin cheesemakers finished in the top three spots in the following divisions:

Cheddar, 'Medium' (3 to 6 months) — Daniel Stearns, Agropur, Weyauwega, second.

Cheddar, 'Sharp' (6 months to 1 year) — Robert Martinez, Maple Leaf Cheesemakers Inc., Monroe, third.

Cheddar, Aged One to Two Years — Masters Gallery Foods manufactured by Land O'Lakes Kiel Masters Gallery Foods, Inc.Plymouth, Best of Class; Maple Leaf Cheesemaking TeamMaple Leaf Cheesemakers, Inc., Monroe, second. WI

Cheddar, Aged Two Years or Longer — Dan Stearns, Agropur, Weyauwega, Best of Class; Entered by Masters Gallery Foods Manufactured by Land O'Lakes Kiel, third.

Bandaged Cheddar, Mild to Medium — Chris Roelli, Roelli Cheese Company, Shullsburg, Best of Class; Wayne Hintz, Red Barn Family Farms, Appleton, second; Kevin Rachu, Nasonville Dairy Inc, Marshfield, third.

Bandaged Cheddar, Sharp to Aged— Artisan Cheese Exchange, Henning Cheese, Kiel, Best of Class; Wayne Hintz, Red Barn Family Farms, Appleton, second; Wayne Hintz, Red Barn Family Farms, Appleton, third.

Colby — Team 1 Arena, Arena Cheese, Arena, Best of Class; Team 2 Arena, Arena Cheese, second; Team 3 Arena, Arena Cheese, Arena, third.

Monterey Jack — Team Meister 2, Meister Cheese, Muscoda, third.

Marbled Curd Cheese — Shawn Sadler, AMPI, Jim Falls, Best of Class.

Baby Swiss Style — Mike Nelson, Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe, Best of Class; Neal Schwartz, Chalet Cheese Co-op, Monroe, third.

Mozzarella — Roger Krohn, Agropur, Luxemburg, third.

Mozzarella, Part Skim —Roger L. Krohn, Agropur, Luxemburg, Best of Class; Pat Doell, Agropur, Luxemburg, second; Ben Miller, Foremost Farms, Richland Center, third.

Provolone, Mild — FFUSA, Chilton Foremost Farms, Chilton, Best of Class; Team Clayton, Foremost Farms, Clayton, third.

Ricotta — Tomas Robles, BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Green Bay, Best of Class.

Parmesan — Steve Bierhals, BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Green Bay, second; Eau Galle Cheese, Eau Galle Cheese Factory, Inc., Durand, third.

Feta — Terry Lensmire, Agropur, Weyauwega, Best of Class; Micah G. Klug, Agropur, Weyauwega, second; David Schmidt, Agropur, Weyauwega, third.

Feta, Flavored — Terry Lensmire, Agropur, Weyauwega, Best of Class; Micah Klug, Agropur, Weyauwega, second and third.

Havarti —Ed Giamarino, Arla Foods, Kaukauna, Best of Class; Tom Schmidt, Arla Foods, Kaukauna, second; Dennis Schneider, Arla foods, Kaukauna, third.

Havarti, Flavored — Dave Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, Best of Class; Dennis Schneider, Arla Foods, Kaukauna, second; Team Edelweiss, Edelweiss Creamery, Monticello, third.

Gorgonzola — Team Seymour, Great Lakes Cheese Seymour, Inc., Seymour, third.

String Cheese —Cesar Luis, Cesar's Cheese, Random Lake, Best of Class; Cesar and Heydi Luis, Cesar's Cheese, Random Lake, second; Cesar and Cesar Jr., Cesar's Cheese, Random Lake, third.

String Cheese, Flavored — Tim Entringer, Baker Cheese Factory Inc, St Cloud, Best of Class; Burnett Dairy, Team Burnett Dairy, Grantsburg, second and third.

Fresh Mozzarella — Jennifer Garvey, BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Green Bay, Best of Class.

Brick, Muenster — Chad Duhai, Zimmerman Cheese, South Wayne, Best of Class; Valley View cheese team, Valley View CheeseCoop, South Wayne, second; Steve Stettler, Decatur Dairy Inc., Brodhead, third.

Edam — Ryan Onkels, Arla Foods, Kaukauna, third.

Gouda, Mild — Gary Grossen, UW Madison Babcock Dairy, Madison, second; Marieke Gouda Team, Marieke Gouda, Thorp, third.

Gouda, Flavored — Marieke Gouda Team, Marieke Gouda, Thorp, Best of Class, second and third.

Smoked Gouda — Marieke Gouda Team, Marieke Gouda, Thorp, second; Eric Steltenpohl, Saxon Cheese LLC, Cleveland, third.

Fresh Hispanic Cheeses — Team WW Dairy, WW Dairy, Monroe, Best of Class.

Hispanic Melting Cheeses — Tom Dahmen, Chula Vista Cheese for V&V Supremo Foods, Browntown, Best of Class.

Smear Ripened Hard Cheeses — Team Emmi Roth USA, Emmi Roth USA, Fitchburg, Best of Class (World Champion); Team Emmi Roth USA, Emmi Roth USA, Fitchburg, second; Andy Hatch, Uplands Cheese, Dodgeville, third.

Pepper Flavored Monterey Jack, Mild Heat — Maple Leaf Cheesemaking Team, Maple Leaf Cheesemakers Inc., Monroe, second; Steve Tollers, Lynn Dairy, Inc., Granton, third.

Open Class: Pepper Flavored Cheeses, Mild Heat — John (Randy) Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, second; WCG 12th and 3rd St.Wisconsin Cheese Group, Monroe, third.

Open Class: Pepper Flavored Cheeses, Medium Heat — Team Emmi Roth USA, Emmi Roth USA, Fitchburg, third.

Open Class: Smoked Soft & Semi-soft (Semi-hard) Cheeses — Decatur Team, Decatur Dairy Inc., Brodhead, Best of Class; Steve Stettler, Decatur Dairy Inc., Brodhead, third.

Open class: Flavored Soft Cheeses — Travis Gritt, BelGioioso Cheese Inc.,Green Bay, second; Louis Vazquez, BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Green Bay, third.

Open Class: Flavored Cheeses with Sweet or 'Dessert' Condiments — Mike Matucheski, Sartori Company, Antigo, third.

Open Class: Flavored Hard Cheeses — Mike Matucheski, Sartori Company, Antigo, second and third.

Cold Pack Cheese, Cheese Food — Team Pine River, Pine River pre-pack, Newton; Best of Class, second and third.

Cold Pack Cheese Spread — Carr Valley Cheese Makers, Carr Valley Cheese Co. Inc., LaValle, Best of Class; Team Merkts, Blue Diamond Bel Brands USA, Little Chute, second; Team Scott's of Wisconsin, Scott's of Wisconsin, Sun Prairie, third.

Spreadable Natural Cheeses, Flavored — KH, Beaver Dam Plant, Kraft Heinz, Beaver Dam, second.

Pasteurized Process Cheeses — Process Slice Team, Associated Milk Producers, Inc, Portage, Best of Class; Team Slice, Land O'Lake, sSpencer, second and third.

Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread — Tony Gessler, Lactalis American Group, Merrill, Best of Class.

Flavored Soft Goat's Milk Cheeses— Alicia Rogers, Montchevre-Betin, Inc., Belmont, Best of Class.

Flavored Soft Goat's Milk Cheeses with Sweet Condiments — Dennis Cardy, Montchevre-Betin, Inc., Belmont, Best of Class; Percy Mendoza, Montchevre-Betin, Inc., Belmont, second.

Semi-soft (Semi-hard) Goat's Milk Cheeses — Cris Bockhop, Montchevre-Betin, Inc., Belmont, second.

Flavored Semi-Soft (Semi-hard) Goat's Milk Cheeses — Carr Valley Cheese Makers, Carr Valley Cheese Co. Inc., LaValle, Best of Class.

Flavored Soft & Semi-soft (Semi-hard) Sheep's Milk Cheeses — Brenda Jensen, Hidden Springs Creamery, Westby, Best of Class and third.

Hard Sheep's Milk Cheeses (9 Months or longer) — Cedar Grove Team, Cedar Grove Cheese, Plain, second.

Hard Mixed Milk Cheeses — Brenda Jensen, Hidden Springs Creamery, Westby, second.

Salted Butter— Reedsburg 3rd Shift, Foremost Farms USA, Reedsburg, third.

Flavored Butter — Pine River Dairy, Pine River Dairy, Manitowoc, Best of Class; Bekkum Family, Nordic Creamery, Westby, third.

Yogurt- cow's milk — Ron Paris, Sugar River Dairy, Albany, Best of Class.

Flavored Yogurt- cow's milk — Richland Center-West, Schreiber FoodsRichland Center, third.

Flavored High Protein - cow's Milk — Richland Center-West, Schreiber Foods, Richland Center, Best of Class; Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, third.

Yogurt - All Other Milks — George Roehrig and Team LaClare, LaClare Farms, Malone, second; Ron Paris, Sugar River Dairy, Albany, third.

Open Class: Shredded Cheese, Flavored & Unflavored — Northside Team-Plymouth, Great Lakes CheesePlymouth, second; Masters Gallery Foods Inc., Masters Gallery Foods Inc., Plymouth, third.

Open Class: Shredded Cheese Blends, Flavored & Unflavored — Masters Gallery Foods Inc., Masters Gallery Foods Inc.Plymouth, Best of Class; Jeff Mattes, Chula Vista Cheese Co., V&V Supremo Foods, Browntown, second; Team Appleton Shred, Foremost Farms USA, Appleton, third.

Prepared Cheese Foods— Paul Gretzinger, BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Green Bay, Best of Class; Team Pasture Pride, Pasture Pride Cheese, Cashton, second; Carr Valley Cheese Makers, Carr Valley Cheese Co. Inc., LaValle, third.

Cheese Based Spreads — Owl's Nest, Blue Diamond Bel Brands USA, Little Chute, second and third.

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