Chef Tory Miller of L'Etoile Restaurant, Madison showcased some of Wisconsin's best artisanal cheeses at the U.S. Cheese Championship. Miller says his restaurant uses only Wisconsin cheese sourced from Madison's farmers market.

A two-year-old New York extra sharp aged cheddar from McCadam Cheese, captured the highest honor at the U.S. Cheese Championship with a championship round score of 99.1. The cheese was made by Ken Root, at McCadam’s Chateaugay, N.Y. plant.  

The competition, held in odd-numbered years, received a record 1,158 cheese and butter entries this year.  Seventeen expert judges worked for three days at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee, Wis., examining, sniffing and tasting cheeses and butters from 26 states.  Entries were divided into classes, and gold, silver and bronze medalists were selected in 53 classes.

The championship round included the blue medal winners from each class and the top three were separated by just fractions of a point. The first runner up was a raw milk, Roth’s Private Reserve, an Alpine style cheese from Roth Käse, USA, Monroe, Wis., that scored 98.82.  The second runner up honors went to a Mascarpone from Sorrento Lactalis, Nampa Idaho, which scored 98.81.

Cheesemakers and buttermakers in 16 states earned gold, silver or bronze medals in the competition. Among them were artisan cheesemakers like Vermont Butter & Cheese Co., which took a blue ribbon in a goat cheese category, and Rogue Creamery of Oregon, which scored an outstanding 99.75 in class for its Crater Lake Blue.