Wisconsin cheesemakers earn international seal of approval at World Cheese Awards

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin cheesemakers made the grade on the international stage at the World Cheese Awards held last month in Bergen, Norway.

Wisconsin cheesemakers made the grade on the international stage at the World Cheese Awards held last month in Bergen, Norway.

Cheese hailing from America's Dairyland joined nearly 3,500 entries from around the world from six continents. The cheeses were judged by an international panel of 235 judges from 41 nations, assessing entries for color, texture, consistency and taste.

While U.S. cheeses took home a total of 89 medals (25 gold, 24 silver and 32 bronze), Wisconsin cheesemakers won nearly one-third of the hardware, claiming 24 medals, and one international major award. 

Suzanne Fanning, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin SVP and Chief Marketing Officer. to the U.S. Dairy Council Export Council blogger, that the competition was a true celebration of the outstanding community of dairy producers and cheesemakers that thrive in Wisconsin.

” We are so thrilled to celebrate their success and see our industry recognized on the world stage,” Fanning said.

Wisconsin cheese plants that received medals include: Emmi Roth Cheese, Monroe, seven; Sartori Cheese Co, Plymouth, six; Carr Valley Cheese, LaValle, four; Marieke Gouda, Thorp; Deer Creek Cheese, Sheboygan, two; V&V Supremo Foods, Inc, and Ponderosa Dairy Products, Kewaunee, one award each.

World Cheese Awards

Trophy and special award for Best Vintage Cheddar, Deer Creek Imperial Buck, The Artisan Cheese Exchange based in Sheboygan, Wis.

Two Wisconsin cheesemakers were among eight Wisconsin entries to earn a super gold status—Cave Aged Marisa, Carr Valley Cheese, LaValle and Montchevre Kiss My Ash, Saputo Cheese USA, Milwaukee.

Other U.S. cheesemakers earning super gold honors included Jacobs and Brichford Farmstead Cheese, Connersville, Ind.; Cypress Grove, Arcata Calif.;Bloomsdale Baetje Farms LLC, Bloomsdale, Mo..;Fiscalini Cheese Company, Modesto, Calif.; and Cellars at Jasper Hill, Greensboro, Vt., which won the title of Best American cheese with its entry Harbison, a soft-ripened cheese with a rustic, bloomy rind.

According to the World Cheese Awards website, one of the gold medal winners from each of the 78 judging tables is nominated as a super gold entry. Those entries are then again sampled by a super jury of 16 experts. 

From that field of 78, just 16 cheeses move on to the final round of judging. Nine countries were represented in the final field: Norway, two entries; France, two entries; Sweden; Italy, four entries; Denmark; Spain, three entries; South Africa; UK and Israel.

A Gouda-style cheese made on a small farm in Norway was crowned the best cheese in the world on home soil as the 2018 World Cheese Awards concluded in Bergen with an emotional finale.

Fanaost made by Ostegården was the clear winner with a score of 71 out of a possible 80 in the final round of tasting at the city’s Grieghallen, which played host to this year’s awards.

A Norwegian cheese – a traditional Brun Geitost (brown cheese) made by Stordalen Gardsbruk – took joint second place with an AOP Ossau Iraty from Fromagerie Agour.