Straight from Raleigh, North Carolina, we bring you the Best in Show from the 2012 American Cheese Society Awards:
Roth Grand Cru Surchoix, Emmi Roth USA, Wisconsin
Crema de Blue, Valley Shepherd Creamery, New Jersey
BEST IN SHOW
Flagsheep, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Washington
Wisconsin was a big winner with 90+ ribbons out of the 356 awarded. It was another record-setting year with 1,711 cheeses submitted for judging. Categories range from butter, yogurt and fresh cheeses to aged, washed-rind and several open categories. Perhaps our favorite category, farmstead cheeses, awarded ribbons to many cheese makers we’ve reviewed and loved here — and some we haven’t, yet. There was a six-way tie for second place in the cows milk division. The first place winners, by type:
Farmstead Cheeses, Soft, All Milks: Dancing Fern, Sequatchie Cove Creamery, Tennessee
Farmstead Cheeses, Semi-soft, Cows Milk, Aged over 60 days: La Baluchon, Fromages CDA Inc., Quebec
Farmstead Cheeses, Hard, Aged over 60 days: Maggie’s Reserve, Cricket Creek Farm, Massachusetts
Farmstead Cheeses, Goats Milk, Aged over 60 days: Greta’s Fair Haven, Ruggles Hill Creamery, Massachusetts
Farmstead Cheeses, Sheeps/Mixed Milk, Aged over 60 days: St. Helens, Black Sheep Creamery, Washington
Farmstead Cheeses, Flavor Added: Marieke Gouda Foenegreek, Holland’s Family Cheese, Wisconsin
In our beloved bloomy-rind category, MouCo Cheese Co. of Colorado claimed first place with their Ashley, while Cellars at Jasper Hill, Vt., took second for Harbison and Sweet Grass Dairy, Ga., third for Green Hill. (Alas, not one of these was served with the champagne last night. We’ll give them their proper toast back at home.)
It was a good night for Southern cheeses, as well, with several North Carolina dairies taking ribbons. (More on those, later.) From the Mid-Atlantic, Maryland’s FireFly Farms took first for Cabra La Mancha (washed-rind goat) and a third for Mountain Top Bleu (goat blues with rind); Chapel’s Country Creamery garnered third for their marinated feta. Virginia’s Everona Dairy received a third place ribbon for Stony Man in the farmstead aged sheeps milk category.
Visit the ACS website for the full list of results. Over at Cheese Underground, Jeanne has a summary of Wisconsin’s blue ribbon winners and Pacific NW Cheese Project highlights winners from Oregon and Washington. Stay tuned for more from Raleigh — tonight I attempt to taste at least the 350+ winners, if not the full 1,711 at the Festival of Cheese.