New king cheese crowned world champion in Wisconsin

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The victor of the 2018 Cheese Contest was a sheep's milk cheese made in France at Mauleon Fromagerie. Along with winning a "Best in Class" in the mold-ripened goat cheese category, Vermont Creamery's Coupole was the only Vermont cheese to move to the final Top 20 in the World Championship round. Fifty-five expert judges including experienced cheese graders, buyers, dairy science professors, and researchers from 15 American states and 20 countries evaluated the entries over two days.

To find the answer, among other reasons (like eating copious amounts of cheese), the world's top cheesemakers gather in Madison, Wisconsin every year to compete in the World Championship Cheese Contest.

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association announced the victor of the three-day contest Thursday night at the Monona Terrace. First runner-up in the contest, with a score of 98.267, is Arzberger Ursteirer, a hard cow's milk cheese aged in a silver mine made by Franz Moestl and Team of Almenland Stollenkäse in Austria.

It may be cheesy to ask, but of all the cheeses in the world, which single cheese reigns supreme over all others?

In 2016, Fitchburg-based Emmi Roth USA took best of show with its Grand Cru Surchoix that was produced in Monroe but this year the cheese finished in fourth place in the washed rind/smear-ripened hard cheese category with a 99.35 score and did not qualify for tonight's finals.

Trailing far behind America's Dairyland, Idaho, New York, and Vermont tied in the state rankings with six gold medals. 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. The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, which hosts the contest, said five of those cheeses were from Wisconsin.

Only two US cheeses have won best of show since 1988 when Dale Olson of Grantsburg's Burnett Dairy Cooperative in northwestern Wisconsin won for a string cheese.

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