The Europeans really do know a thing or two about making cheese as they took the top three spots at the World Cheese Championships, hosted this time around in Madison, USA.
Taking the gold was a cheese produced from sheep milk in France called Esquirrou and was imported by Pennsylvania-based Savencia Cheese USA.
Even though local Wisconsin producers dominated the competition taking home 47 gold medals, the fromage from France was unbeatable.
The winning entry is a hard sheep’s milk cheese made by Michael Touyarou at Mauleon Fromagerie in the Pyrénées Region of France and scored 98.376 out of 100 to win the competition. In second place with a score of 98.267 was an Austrian cheese called Azberger Ursteirer, which is a hard cow’s milk cheese from Franz Moestl and team of Almenland Stollenkäse and was remarkably aged in a silver mine. In third place was yet another European cheese, this time from Switzerland, called Mont Vully Bio, a raw milk cheese washed with Pinot Noir wine from Ewald Schafer of Fromagerie Schafer.
The top cheeses battled it out with 3,400 entries from 26 nations to take the top awards at the competition.
Five cheeses produced in Wisconsin – English Hollow Cheddar from Maple Leaf Cheesemakers Inc., Monroe; Mild Gouda from Saxon Cheese LLC, Cleveland; Satori Reserve Espresso BellaVitano and Satori Limited Edition Pastorale Blend, Sartori Co., Antigo; and Cave Aged Chandoka from LaClare Family Cremery, Malone – were all tipped to win but just didn’t have the edge on the winning product.
Held every other year, the competition this time around was hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. It was first started in 1957 and is the largest technical cheese, butter, and yogurt competition in the world.
The competition is run over three days and involves a team of 56 internationally renowned judges.
Other Wisconsin cheesemakers to win the 47 Best in Class gold medals in a variety of categories were: Springside Cheese Corp., Oconto Falls; Dorr Artisan Cheese Co., Egg Harbor; Arena Cheese, Arena; AMPI, Jim Falls (in Chippewa County); Foremost Farms USA, Clayton; Agropur, Luxemburg and Weyauwega; BelGioioso Cheese Inc., Green Bay; Agropur, Luxemburg; Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe; Aria Foods, Kaukauna; Cesar’s Cheese, Random Lake; Marieke Gouda, Thorp; Lactalis, Belmont; Saputo Cheese USA, Milwaukee; Emmi Roth, USA, Monroe; Chula Vista Cheese Co., Browntown; Specialty Cheese Co. Inc., Reeseville; Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese LLC, Waterloo; Meister Cheese, Muscoda; Pine River Pre-Pack, Newton; Schreiber Foods, Green Bay; Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage; Hidden Springs Creamery, Westby; Eckerman Sheep Co., Antigo; Nordic Creamery, Westby; Yodelay Yogurt, Madison; Masters Gallery Foods Inc., Plymouth; and Carr Valley Cheese, La Valle.
“We salute World Championship Cheese Contest winners for their innovation and commitment to excellence in their craft,” said John Umhoefer, Executive Director for the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, which hosts the biennial competition.