Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Chris Roelli
Last week, the cheese world descended on Des Moines, Iowa, for the annual American Cheese Society (ACS) Conference and Competition. The competition, often called “The Oscars of Cheese,” included 1,843 entries from over 250 companies. When the results were announced, Wisconsin’s own Roelli Cheese Company took top honors, winning Best of Show for their Little Mountain cheese. In fact, Wisconsin won more awards than any other state for the twelfth year in a row – 107 ribbons in all.
ENTER TO WIN: Read on for a chance to win a taste of the Best of Show cheese! Entry details below.
Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Chris Roelli was on hand to accept the Best of Show award. It was the result of a decade-long commitment to artisan cheesemaking. Roelli, a fourth-generation cheesemaker, reopened his family’s cheese plant in 2006 as a small-batch artisan operation (the original closed in 1991).
He soon introduced his popular Dunbarton Blue cheese, a blue-veined cheddar, and followed that up with Red Rock, another cheddar blue with a deep orange color. Most recently, he worked closely with the Center for Dairy Research in Madison, Wisconsin, to develop Little Mountain, a washed rind alpine cheese made with raw cow’s milk in the appenzeller style. It is aged 6 months and has a smooth, nutty flavor. This past weekend, that hard work paid off when Little Mountain was named the 2016 ACS Best of Show Cheese.
Jeffs’ Select Gouda
Also taking home a big ACS win was Jeffs’ Select Gouda, which tied for third place Best of Show. The cheese is the result of a unique partnership between two Jeffs. It’s made by Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Jeff Wideman of Maple Leaf Cheesemakers, Inc. in Monroe, Wisconsin, and aged by Jeff Jirik in Minnesota’s Caves of Faribault.
In all, Wisconsin cheesemakers, along with the state’s butter and yogurt makers, claimed 28 percent of all awards bestowed at this year’s ACS competition, including 29 first place ribbons, 32 second place and 44 third place. With these wins, Wisconsin cheesemakers swept five categories: Brick Cheese – Cow’s Milk; Cheese Curds – All Milk; Colby Cheese – All Milk; Flavored Cheeses – International-Style with Flavor Added; and Flavored Cheeses – Feta Cheese with Flavor Added.
Want to try the best cheese in the country? Little Mountain is in limited supply, but we’re giving away a piece to one lucky winner. Enter below to win a taste of Little Mountain, as well as a selection of other winning Wisconsin cheeses.