After two days of intense competition, an Aged Gouda has been named the 2023 United States Champion Cheese. The cheese, called Europa, is made by the team at Arethusa Farm Dairy in Bantam, Connecticut, under the direction of Head Cheesemaker Eric Schmid.
With an impressive score of 98.739 out of 100, Europa topped 2,249 entries from 197 dairy companies and cooperatives across 35 U.S. states in this year’s United States Championship Cheese Contest® to win the coveted top prize.
First runner-up in the contest, with a score of 98.613, is Vintage Cupola American Original Cheese, a hard raw milk cheese made by Door Artisan Cheese Company of Egg Harbor, Wisconsin for Red Barn Family Farms in Appleton, Wisconsin. The second runner-up position was awarded to a Medium Cheddar made by Dillon Sylla for Associated Milk Producers Inc. of Blair, Wisconsin with a score of 98.554.
“The men and women of the U.S. dairy processing industry are exceptionally passionate and dedicated to crafting quality products, and that commitment shines through in the high caliber of this year’s winners. We congratulate them on their hard-earned and well-deserved success,” said John Umhoefer, Executive Director for the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, which hosts the biennial competition.
A total of 35 states were represented in the 2023 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, with entries submitted across 113 classes. With an impressive 54 Best of Class finishes, Wisconsin earned the highest number of gold medals. Dairy manufacturers from California took home nine golds, and Idaho finished third in the ranking with eight Best of Class awards.
Hosted by WCMA since 1981, the biennial United States Championship Cheese Contest® is the country’s premier technical cheese, butter, yogurt, and whey competition. A team of 42 nationally renowned judges evaluated all entries over the two-day event, held February 21-22 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The top three finishers for each entry class were announced on Tuesday and Wednesday following preliminary judging rounds. The nation’s Top 20 cheeses were released following Wednesday’s Championship Round of judging. For more information on the Contest and complete results for all classes, please visit USChampionCheese.org.