(WKOW) -- There's little to dispute when it comes to Wisconsin Cheesemakers' dominance at recent cheese competitions after capturing the 2016 World championship, American Cheese Society Best of Show, and sweeping the top three awards at the 2017 US Championship Cheese Contest.
"Well, you have to put it in a context of a contest that had more entries than ever, from more states than ever," Executive Director of Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association John Umhoefer said. "We had judges from 18 different states, so they all come together and judge; and for Wisconsin to come in the top three is quite amazing! In fact we took 58 of the 101 possible gold medals this year."
But when Wisconsin cheesemakers win the coveted awards, retailers scramble to get, and keep, the winning cheeses on the shelves.
While keeping that hot commodity in stock may be a bit of a conundrum, cheesemongers see it as an opportunity to share other award-winning cheeses with customers.
"Because we know customers are going to be coming in asking for it, let's build this so that we can educate them about all the other great cheeses that this winning cheesemaker now makes," Manager of Metcalf's Specialty Cheese Dept. Jeanne Carpenter said. "And that's great from a retail perspective because it drives sales for all of that cheesemaker's cheese."
Hopefully you're lucky enough to get your hands on some of Wisconsin's most recent award-winning cheeses. If not, you're still in luck because there's no shortage of great tasting cheeses to choose.
"Wisconsin has come into its own, on par with Europe and the Pacific Rim," Umhoefer said. "We're making the best cheese in the world."
In 2016 Emmi Roth won the World Championship Cheese contest with its Grand Cru Surchoix, and Chris Roelli won the American Cheese Society - Best of Show with Little Mountain. And so far this year, Wisconsin Cheesemakers swept the top three awards at the United States Championship Cheese Contest.