Judging for the 2010 World Championship Cheese Contest ended today in Madison, Wisc., and Yancey's Fancy, Inc., located in Corfu, earned a Gold Medal and three other awards.
There were a record number of entries this year, with 2,313 cheeses and butters from 20 nations and every continent vying for awards. That makes it the biggest, and so to speak "cheesiest" contest on the planet. It is has been held in even-numbered years since 1958.
An international panel of 30 "cheese-evaluation experts" spent Tuesday, Wednesday and today selecting medalists in 80 cheese and butter classes.
The competition is a technical evaluation of entries, using an objective measure of cheese defects to select the products in each class that best exemplify perfection for a cheese variety. The highest-scoring cheeses and butters earn a Gold Medal, with Silver and Bronze medals awarded to second- and third-place finishers in each class.
“The cornerstone of this competition is a fair, objective evaluation of entries,” said Robert Aschebrock, contest chief judge, a career cheese and butter grader and inspector with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Yancey's Fancy earned the Gold -- Best of Class -- for its pasteurized process Jalapeno Peppadew Cheddar (98.8 points). It took two 4th-Place awards (each earning 97.55 points) for its pasteurized process Smoked Gouda and Bacon Cheese and its pasteurized process Roasted Garlic Cheddar Cheese. A 5th-Place award went its pasteurized process Horseradish Cheddar Cheese (97.35 points).
In this morning's Championship Round of judging, 77 Gold Medal cheeses from cow, goat and sheep milk classes were re-evaluated. The highest-scoring cheeses were named World Champion and First and Second Runners-Up.
Cheesemakers and buttermakers competed from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
Thirty U.S. states had cheese or butter entries as well as the Canadian provinces Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. Participating U.S. states included California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
Strong growth in the contest was reflected in several cheese categories. Bandaged cheddar entries nearly doubled in 2010 along with rinded Swiss styles, brie cheeses and spreadable cheeses. Significant increases are noted in classes for gorgonzola, ricotta, blue-veined cheeses, smear-ripened cheeses, flavored cheeses, reduced-fat cheeses and semi-soft goat’s milk and sheep’s milk cheeses. The new reduced-sodium cheese class debuted with a respectable 10 entries and the shredded-cheese evaluation (new in 2008) grew from 5 to 20 entries.
Winners will receive their awards during the International Cheese Technology Exposition, April 20-22 in Wisconsin.