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Wisconsin cheesemakers, along with the state’s yogurt and butter makers, captured the top number of ribbons -- 93 awards -- at the recent American Cheese Society (ACS) annual competition in Raleigh, N.C.
Of 1,711 total entries (a record number), Wisconsin claimed 26 percent of all awards, winning more than any other state or country for the eighth year in a row. The 93 awards from "America’s Dairyland" producers included a third place in the prestigious Best of Show category, as well as 24 first place awards, 36 seconds and 32 thirds.
Several Wisconsin cheesemakers had outstanding performances, including Carr Valley Cheese, which landed 14 ribbons. BelGioioso claimed nine ribbons, DCI and MontChevré-Betin each earned five, while Sartori, Holland’s Family Cheese, Klondike Cheese and CROPP/Organic Valley each received four.
First place ribbons went to:
• BelGioioso Cheese Inc.:Gorgonzola with Sheep’s Milk; Sharp Provolone Mandarino; Asiago; Fresh Mozzarella, Prosciutto & Basil Roll
• Belmont – Lactalis American Group Inc.: Camembert
• Carr Valley Cheese Co., Inc.: Billy Blue; Canaria; Sharp Cheddar Spread; Horseradish Spread
• Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, LLC: Petit Frère with Truffles
• DCI Cheese Company: Great Midwest Morel & Leek Jack
• Emmi Roth USA Inc.: Grand Cru Surchoix; GranQueso Reserve
• Hidden Springs Creamery: Driftless – Natural
• Holland’s Family Cheese: Marieke Gouda Foenegreek
• Klondike Cheese Co.: Peppercorn Feta
• Kraft Foods: Sharp Cheddar
• Montchevré-Betin, Inc.: Wellspring Cranberry Orange Fresh Goat Cheese; Goat Milk Yogurt Plain
• Nordic Creamery: Goat Butter
• Sartori: Limited Edition Pastorale Blend
• The Artisan Cheese Exchange: Deer Creek Reserve Cheddar
• Uplands Cheese: Pleasant Ridge Reserve
• Widmers Cheese Cellars: Colby with Jalapeños
In addition to landing the most first place awards, Wisconsin cheesemakers swept nine categories: Brick, Colby, Cow’s Milk Cheddar – aged up to 12 months, Rindless Blue Veined – made from goat’s milk, Italian Type Cheeses – grating types, Cheeses Flavored with All Peppers, Flavor Added Havarti, Cheese Spreads – Open Category Cold Pack Style, and Cold Pack Cheese Food and Cheese Spreads. Wisconsin also took top honors in the number of awards for cow’s milk cheeses (including mixed milk) with 71 awards.
Wisconsin cheesemakers will welcome their North American peers for next year’s ACS competition to be held July 31-Aug. 3, 2013, in Madison.