Press release from the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

Madison, Wis. For the first time since 1988, an international panel of expert judges has named a cheese made in the United States the best cheese in the world.
A smear-ripened hard cheese Roth Grand Cru Surchoix from Emmi Roth USA earned a score of 98.88 out of 100 to claim the title as the 2016 World Championship Cheese.

First runner-up in the contest, with a score of 98.758, was the Urnäscher Hornkuhkäse made by Johannes Schefer, Urnäscher Milchspezialitäten Urnäsch, Switzerland. Second runner-up, from the Aged Gouda class with a score of 98.754, was the North-Holland BOB Special Old Extra made by Team Lutjewinkel North-Holland Gold, Friesland Campina Export, from Wolvega in Friesland, The Netherlands.

“The cheeses judged at this competition are, without a doubt, the best in the world, and all of the cheesemakers who participated are to be commended. Win margins are incredibly thin, often with just tenths of a point separating the medalists from the rest of the pack,” said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, which hosts the biennial competition.

A record-setting 2,959 cheese entries from 23 countries and 31 states were evaluated during the three-day competition in Madison, Wisconsin.

Overall, U.S. cheesemakers dominated the competition, earning gold medals in a whopping 83 of the total 110 categories judged. Switzerland came in second among the countries, with nine golds. Cheesemakers from The Netherlands earned six gold medals, while Austria, Canada, and Spain each took three. German cheesemakers won two golds and Mexico earned one.

Among U.S. states, Wisconsin dominated with 38 gold medals. New York took nine golds, California won eight, and New Jersey earned six. Cheesemakers in New Mexico and Vermont earned five gold medals, each.

The World Championship Cheese Contest, initiated in 1957, is the largest technical cheese, butter, and yogurt competition in the world. For more information on the contest, as well as complete results for all entry classes and contest photos, visit