Wisconsin cheese makers continued their winning cheese tradition placing 17 entries in the top three spots in 10 of the 19 classes at the 2019 National Milk Producers Federation’s Championship Cheese Contest held in New Orleans on November 3-6. 

State cheese artisans earned six 1st place, seven 2nd place and four 3rd place finishes. Wisconsin cheeses earned top honors in the provolone, Swiss, plain processed American, hot or spicy flavor, reduced fat and natural cheese snack. State producers swept all three places in the plain processed American cheese division.

Associated Milk Producers, Inc. earned the Chairman’s Plaque during the four-day event. AMPI’s winning Hand-Crafted Parmesan entry, crafted at its plant in Hoven, SD, earned a score of 99.20 in the Hard & Mold Ripened Cheese category. This cheese was judged the best cheese in the Championship round of this year’s contest.

AMPI’s Hoven plant specializes in making 22-pound wheels of Parmesan, Asiago and Romano.

Each year NMPF hosts the annual cheese contest member cooperatives. According to NMPF, 15 NMPF cooperative members submitted 237 entries, totaling 3050 pounds of cheese to be judged in 2019.

Wisconsin winners

Medium Cheddar—Blair Cheese Floor, AMPI, Blair, WI, third place.

Sharp Cheddar—Doug Snortheim, Foremost Farms USA, Marshfield, WI, third place.

Provolone—Mark Forester, Foremost Farms, Clayton, WI, first place; Team D, Foremost Farms, Appleton, WI. Smoked, second place.

Natural—Bill Stocker, Midwest Dairymen’s Company, Shullsburg, WI. Colby Jack Longhorn, second place.

Swiss—Prairie Farms Dairy, Shullsburg, WI. Baby Swiss, first place; Bruce Workman, Select Milk Producers, Inc., Monticello, WI. Sweet Swiss, second place.

Plain Processed American—AMPI, Portage, WI. Colored Slice-On-Slice, first place; Team Wohlt, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, New London, WI. Swiss American, second place; and  AMPI, Portage, WI. Swiss Slice-On-Slice, third place.

Flavored Processed American—Team Wohlt, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Swiss Onion Blend, second place; AMPI, Portage, WI. Monterey Jack & American with Red Bell and Jalapeno Peppers, third place.

Hot or Spicy Flavor—Bruce Workman, Select Milk Producers, Inc., Monticello, WI. Habanero Havarti, first place; Ellsworth Creamery, Comstock, WI. Ghost Pepper Monterey Jack, second place.

Reduced Fat—Troy Kittleson, Foremost Farms, Clayton, WI, first place.

Natural Cheese Snack—Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Ellsworth, WI. Cajun Cheddar Cheese Curds, first place; Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Ellsworth, WI. Hickory Bacon Cheddar Cheese Curds, second place.

Extra cheese from the contest and dairy products from the Dairy Bar were donated to the New Orleans Mission.

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