A Wisconsin cheese has taken best in show for this year’s World Championship Cheese Contest, beating out a record 2,955 entries from around the world.
The winning cheese is a smear-ripened hard cheese produced in Monroe by Fitchburg-based Emmi Roth USA, reports the Wisconsin State Journal.
The win is especially notable as it is the first time a U.S.-made cheese has won the World Championship Cheese Contest in nearly 30 years.
Tim Omer, president of Swiss-owned Emmi Roth USA, accepted the win, saying, “This is very humbling. Our cheesemakers in Monroe, our cheesemakers in Platteville and our cheesemakers in Shullsburg, they are killing it every day.”
A smear-ripened semi-soft cheese made by Johannes Schefer of Switzerland took first runner-up, and an aged Gouda from Friesland Campina Export in the Netherlands was second runner-up. Four of the last five world championships were won by cheesemakers from Switzerland.
Marieke Penterman, an award-winning cheesemaker from Thorp, Wisconsin, says, “It’s a very tough competition. You’re dealing with some extraordinary cheesemakers from all over the world that have generations of techniques. But you get a kick out of it. And if you win something, it’s a tremendous honor.”