Wisconsin cheeses reign at US Championship Cheese Contest

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Marieke Penterman of Marieke Gouda in Thorp, Wisconsin claimed first and second runner-up at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest for two of her farmstead gouda cheeses. Wisconsin cheesemakers won nearly half of the awards at the competition.

It was a great weekend for Wisconsin cheese as state cheesemakers captured almost half of the awards at the 2019 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, including first and second-runner up, both awarded to Marieke Gouda of Thorp, Wisconsin.

Marieke Penterman of Marieke Gouda won first and second-runner up at this year's competition for Marieke Gouda Premium and Marieke Gouda Overjarige, respectively.

Using farmstead-fresh, raw cow's milk from her family's farm in northern Wisconsin, Marieke crafts authentic Dutch-style gouda using time-tested, Old World cheesemaking methods. Dozens of awards have followed, including the U.S. Grand Champion title at the competition in 2013 and second-runner up in 2017.

News of the double win overloaded online ordering at Marieke Gouda with 900 orders in three days, according to the Marieke Gouda website. This surpassed their busiest season, when the team handles 700-800 orders over the holidays. 

"This is seriously amazing and we are cows jumping over the moon over here," a statement on the website said as they brought in extra help to help handle the orders. 

Wisconsin dominated the competition at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, taking home almost half of the awards, including first and second-runner up, both awarded to Marieke Gouda of Thorp, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin dominated the competition at the cheese contest by sweeping 26 classes and further proved its mastery in many varieties, including aged cheddar. Wisconsin swept the Traditional Waxed Cheddar – Sharp to Aged class; Team Artisan Cheese Exchange won Best of Class for Deer Creek The King, Henning's Cheese took first runner-up for Two Year Old Cheddar and Springside Cheese claimed second runner-up for Aged Cheddar.

"Congratulations to all the winners from across the country. We are so proud of our Wisconsin cheesemakers not only because of the many awards they brought home this week, but also because of the passion and innovation they put into their craft every single day," said Suzanne Fanning, Chief Marketing Officer for Wisconsin Cheese. "Because of our many amazing makers, Wisconsin really is the State of Cheese."

Related:Swiss cheese named America's best, Marieke Gouda places 2nd, 3rd in contest

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Wisconsin cheesemakers secured 168 total awards, including 57 Best of Class awards, 58 First Runner-Up awards and 53 Second Runner-Up awards. 51 Wisconsin dairy companies won one or more awards.

Wisconsin cheese and dairy companies that won five or more awards include Marieke Gouda, Carr Valley Cheese Company, Klondike Cheese Company, Agropur, Sartori Company, Mill Creek Cheese, Lactalis, BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Foremost Farms USA – Chilton, AMPI, Saputo Cheese USA Inc. and Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company.

A visit to company Facebook pages listed the following awards.

Crave Brothers claimed first and second place fresh mozzarella, second place oaxaca, first place part skim mozzarella ball and second place white cheddar curds.

Carr Valley Cheese Company took home 11 awards including best of class for three cheeses, second place for five and third place for three. 

BelGioioso Cheese Inc. received six awards, including five first place awards and a third place award. 

Foremost Farms USA – Chilton also claimed six awards including Best of Class for Salted Butter, second place for whey protein concentrate and four third place awards. 

With a record-breaking 2,555 entries from 35 U.S. states, the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest is the largest technical cheese, butter and yogurt competition in the country.

To learn more about award-winning Wisconsin cheeses from this competition and more, visit

PRNewswire contributed to this article.

Carol Spaeth-Bauer at 262-875-9490 or Follow her on Twitter at cspaethbauer or Facebook at