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Some 1,200 members including specialty cheese-makers, retailers, marketers, foodies and cheese enthusiasts attended the cheese competition, which received a record-breaking 1,327 entries from the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Central Point, Ore.-based Rogue Creamery was crowned Best in Show for its Rogue River Blue cheese, which is made from raw cow’s milk cheese and is often referred to as the “Super Bowl of Cheese.”
Meanwhile, Wisconsin cheesemakers scored nearly one third of the competition’s awards, including 24 first-place, 34 second-place and 34 third-place prizes.
Plymouth, Wis.-based artisan cheese maker, Sartori Foods, won top honors in such categories as hard Italian cheese, international style, flavored cheese and marinated cheese and repeated as a two-time Blue Ribbon winner for its Sartori Reserve Dolcina Gorgonzola blue cheese.
Roth Käse USA, Monroe, Wis., captured five awards including three blue ribbons for Valfino, St. Otho and GranQueso, a second-place ribbon for Petite Swiss in the American-made/International-style category and ranked third in the flavored cheese category for Peppadew Havarti.
Furthermore, Richfield, Wis.-based DCI Cheese Co. captured two first-place awards in the fat-free/low-fat cheeses and cheeses flavored with pepper categories. It also placed second for its made-from-cow’s-milk Henning’s Colby cheese and landed two third-place ribbons.
California cheese companies also made an impressive showing at the competition with cow’s milk cheeses snagging five first-place, five second-place, 12 third-place awards and a second-place Best in Show award, which was given to Petaluma, Calif.-based Cowgirl Creamery.
Additionally, Cowgirl Creamery won first in the washed rind cheese category, along with other first-place California companies such as Cantaré Foods for fresh unripened cheese; Rumiano Cheese Co. for its Old Fashioned Monterey Jack cheese in the American original category; Arthur Schuman for its Messana String Cheese in the Italian-type cheese category; and Karoun Dairies in the cultured milk products segment.
Westport Point, Mass.-based Shy Brothers Farm tied for third place in the flavor-added category for its shallot cheese, alongside Marin French Cheese Co., Petaluma, Calif.
Grafton Village Cheese of Grafton, Vt., was awarded a blue ribbon for its Grafton Duet cheese, which is the second award taken home this summer after winning a silver “sofi” award at the 2009 National Association for the Specialty Food Trade judging competition in New York City in July.
On the other hand, cheese wasn’t the only celebrated product at the festival. Emmi USA, for instance, received the Blue Ribbon award for best yogurt. The Valley Cottage, N.Y.-based yogurt manufacturer submitted its non-fat Black Cherry yogurt, which is made from the finest natural ingredients.
For more information on the winners, visit www.cheesesociety.org.