Wisconsin Sweeps Top Three Spots at 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest
Win Marks Historic Grand Slam at Nation's Top Three Cheese Championships
March 23, 2017
Wisconsin cheesemakers continued their historic winning streak at the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, sweeping the top awards and 31 competition classes.
With the title of Grand Champion Cheese going to Sartori's Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano, Wisconsin has won top honors at the country's three major cheese competitions over the past year.
Little Mountain from Roelli Cheese earned Best of Show at the American Cheese Society Competition in July, and Emmi Roth USA's Grand Cru Surchoix won the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest, marking the first sweep of this kind.
"This winning streak is a testament to the tradition, innovation and commitment to excellence that Wisconsin dairy farmers and cheesemakers exemplify," said Suzanne Fanning, Vice President, National Product Communications, of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). "It's further proof that Wisconsin not only makes the most cheese in the country, but the very best cheese, as well. This starts with producing the finest milk and maintaining the highest standards from the farm to the aging caves and beyond."
Made by Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Mike Matucheski, Sartori's Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano is an original Italian-style cheese hand-rubbed with cracked black peppercorns. Wisconsin also claimed the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest's First Runner Up prize for Aged Cheddar from Agropur and Second Runner Up for Marieke Gouda Belegen.
With a record-breaking 2,303 entries from 33 U.S. states, the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest is the largest technical cheese, butter and yogurt competition in the country. Wisconsin captured 60 percent of all awards, winning 184 awards total, including the top three titles, 62 Best of Class awards, 63 second place, and 56 third place awards. Sixteen of the 20 qualifying Best of Class cheeses were made by Wisconsin cheesemakers, and 53 Wisconsin cheese and dairy companies won one or more awards.