More Medals for the Home Team – US Cheese Championships

April 3, 2011 at 8:45 pm

We love cheese, and we especially love local cheese.  We also love it when our local cheeses get recognized.  Several cheeses we consider local, from Wisconsin scored big timeat the 2011 US Championship Cheese Contest.   Cheese and Butter makers from Wisconsin took First, Second and Third places overall– in fact they won 42 out of the 76 categories. Katie Hedrich from LaClare Farms Specialties in Chilton, Wisconsin was the overall winner for her hard goat’s milk cheese – she calls it Evalon. Out of 100 points she scored 99.06 – that’s an A+ for sure. And she took the top prize out of 1,604 entries, over 30,000 pounds of cheese – not too shabby.  Go local!

And I want to give a special shout out to one of the awesome speakers who helped me out with the FamilyFarmed Cheese Making workshop, Al Bekkum, founder and owner of Nordic Creamery. He took away the Second and Third Prize for the his blended butters and the Third Prize for his mixed milk cheese he calls Sarah Select. Not only does he know how to make delicious cheese and butter but he’s also a super nice guy and for that we say, way to go, Al!

Although Wisconsin won by a landslide, cheese and butter makers throughout the whole country participated in this years contest. California took nine of the medals; Vermont had five; New York, New Jersey and Ohio got three each; Pennsylvania and Oregon swiped two each; and bringing up the rear is Kentucky, Michigan and Utah with one medal each.

Wisconsin has been and still is the American authority on cheese and the Wisconsin Cheese Maker’s Association (WCMA) was the thing that started it all. Starting with the WCMA’s first cheese contest in 1891, The U.S Championship Cheese Contest has been held for over 100 years, and it’s been gaining gold medal hopefuls ever since – participation nearly doubled since 2001.

And keep in mind that winning this contest is no trivial feat.  Even winning one medal is a big deal and all the winners deserve a huge congratulation for all their hard work. Can’t wait to see what you bring out next year! Yay, cheese!

Check out the rest of the results and learn more about the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association here.