Wisconsin Cheeses Win Big at World Championship Cheese Contest

Wisconsin cleans up 30 awards, but a Netherlands cheesemaker wins top prize

As home to America's Dairyland, it's no surprise that Wisconsin cleaned up at this year's World Championship Cheese Contest, held in Madison, Wis.

Of the 249 awards possible, Wisconsin swept with 36 percent of the awards, including 30 Best of Class awards (aka gold medals). New York won nine medals, while 10 other states like California, Idaho, and Vermont took home at least one top medal. 

But the crème de la crème of cheeses (or is it fromage du fromage?) was a Netherlands Vermeer Gouda from FrieslandCampina, which beat out nearly 2,500 other entries. The shocker of it all is that it's a reduced-fat cheese, the first of its kind to win the worldwide competition. John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that it was an "excellent" cheese, and that it had neither the firm body or bitter taste most reduced-fat cheeses have.

The World Championship Cheese Contest, which began in 1957, is a Madison tradition and the oldest international cheese contest. And Wisconsin's cheesemakers couldn't be prouder of their sweeps — a Wisconsin cheese enthusiast tweeted, "Whose cows are happy now?" (Ouch, says California.)

For your own homage to Wisconsin cheese, plan a getaway to the Dairyland's cheese trail.