The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) said it hosting an online celebration of the World and U.S. Championship Cheese Contests, with free original programming set to stream on on March 2 and March 3.

“For more than six decades, the World and U.S. Championship Cheese Contests have raised the bar for excellence in dairy processing and connected our industry’s brightest, most creative cheesemakers,” said John Umhoefer, executive director of Madison, Wis.-based WCMA, the Contests’ host organization. “That’s worthy of a celebration, and we invite you join us.”

On March 2, WCMA will look back on the tradition of excellence set by its contests, and look forward to what's next for these competitions. Umhoefer will moderate a lively, insightful conversation with Contest Chief Judge Jim Mueller and Contest Chief Judges Emereti Bill Schlinsog and Bob Aschebrock, WCMA said.

Also on March 2, participants may dive into the minds of the cheese judges. Jill Allen of Tillamook Creamery and Craig Gile of Cabot Cheese, veteran judges from World and U.S. competitions, will detail the challenges — and joys — of evaluating world-class cheddars. Gurth Pretty of Lakeview Cheese and Chad Galer of Dairy Management Inc., rising stars in the expert judging community, will bring new knowledge and laughs, as they walk through cheese curd judging methods.

Legendary experts John Jaeggi and Dean Sommer of the Center for Dairy Research will venture “beneath the smear” to show their evaluation process for ripened soft cheeses, WCMA said. And valued specialists Mariana Marques de Almeida of Ms. J & Co.( also an assistant chief judge) and Dominique Delugeau of Saputo Cheese explain how you to find a gold medal-worthy Manchego.

On March 3, participants may meet 10 of the world's premiere cheesemakers as WCMA unveils the exciting lineup for the Championship Cheese Auction, set for April 7 at CheeseExpo Global Online.

“We’ve had so much fun reconnecting with our champions in preparation for our online contest celebration, and we know you will, too,” said Kirsten Strohmenger, WCMA events manager.

Programs will stream live both days at 3 p.m. (CT), with viewers invited to join in live chats on WCMA’s World Championship Cheese Contest Facebook page during each broadcast. Programs will also be available to stream on-demand at following their original broadcast.