2017 US Championship Cheese Contest

We would like to congratulate some of our great cheese makers that have made the top ten (10) of the top twenty (20) cheeses in the 2017 US Championship Cheese Contest. Top 10 cheese contest finalists include our own; Satori, Agropur, Saxon. Widmer’s, Marieke and Red Barn.

2013 US Cheese Championship Contest at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin on March 12th and 13th 2013. (Mike Roemer Photo)

2013 US Cheese Championship Contest at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin on March 12th and 13th 2013. (Mike Roemer Photo)

20 finalists for the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest

  • Sartori Company, Antigo – Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano
  • Sartori Company, Antigo – Sartori Tre Donnes – a hard mixed milk cheese
  • Agropur, Weyauwega – Cheddar Aged 1 to 2 years
  • Agropur, Weyauwega – Cheddar Aged more than 2 years
  • Saxon Cheese, Cleveland – Old English style Cheddar aged 5 months
  • Saxon Cheese, Cleveland – Smoked Gouda aged 7 months
  • Widmer’s Cheese Cellars, Theresa – Traditional Washed Rind Aged Brick spread
  • Marieke Gouda, Thorp – Gouda Belegen
  • Marieke Gouda, Thorp -Aged Gouda
  • Red Barn Family Farms, Appleton – Bandaged Cheddar, Sharp to Aged
  • Mill Creek Cheese, Arena – reduced fat muenster
  • Meister Cheese, Muscoda – cheddar aged 3 to 6 months
  • Montchevre-Betin, Belmont – Trivium hard goat’s milk cheese
  • Zimmerman Cheese, South Wayne – smoked brick
  • Cypress Grove, Arcata, California – fresh goat cheese
  • Rothenbuhler Cheesemakers, Middlefield, Ohio – baby Swiss
  • Schuman Cheese, Fairfield, N.J. – Montforte Bleu
  • Schuman Cheese, Fairfield, N.J. – Harissa rubbed Fontina
  • Cellars at Jasper Hill, Greensboro Bend, Vermont – brie
  • Glanbia Nutritionals, Twin Falls, Idaho – Gouda with green olives and pimento

Cheese: It’s Delicious & Healthy!

No matter what you kind of cheese you eat, or how you eat it, recent studies have found that it will help protect against heart disease. Researchers at Penn State University have announced that consuming dairy will assist to counteract the downsides of eating too much salt. The study looked at the side effects that dairy cheese, soy cheese, and pretzels had on an individual’s heart. Results found that the sodium in cheese does not  have the similar negative effects as sodium from non-dairy products. More specifically, the data suggests that proteins and nutrients in cheese protect a body’s blood vessels from the outcomes of consuming salt, which is often correlated with high blood pressure and increased heart problems.

Researcher Anna Stanhewicz, who helped with the research, concluded that they’ve “ found that when our subjects ate a lot of sodium in cheese, they had better blood vessel function — more blood flow — compared to when they ate an equal amount of sodium from non-dairy sources — in this case, pretzels and soy cheese.” In addition, cheese is widely known as an excellent source of calcium and protein as it has substantial amounts of vitamin A and B as well as zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin. These nutrients will help keep your bones healthy and avoid dangerous blood clots. While it should be noted you should always consume in moderation, cheese has proved through research to be a healthy snack or add on to any meal.

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The Origin of Cheese

While cheese has become a part of our daily diet, it is widely unknown when the exact time the creation of the dairy product took place. The birth of cheese is believed to be closely correlated with the discovery of milk through animals, which began almost 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. Cheese making has been discovered in readings in Greek mythology and there have been findings of cheese on tombstone images that experts believed to date back nearly 4000 years. And while there remain many questions behind the origins of cheese, we do know that by the time of the Roman Empire, cheese making had become a widely known practice throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Hundreds of variations of cheese were then made and traded when Julius Caesar was in rule. Cheese was then introduced to North America when European immigrants traveled over and brought their knowledge and cheese making skills. As the popularity grew in the United States during the late 1800’s, the demand for the dairy product increased and the industry eventually made it’s way westward to Wisconsin, taking advantage of their abundant farmland. Fast-forward a few centuries later and the United States now produces over 10.6 billion pounds of cheese, and over 300 different varieties. We look forward to what the future holds for the cheese and dairy industry!

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Their commitment to excellence helped Pine River Pre-Pack of Newton, WI earn the top spots in four different cheese contests this year.

First was a clean sweep in the Cold Pack Cheese Food category at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison on March 9th. Winning flavors were Swiss & Almond, Aged Asiago and Garlic & Herb. The highly competitive biennial contest drew 2,995 entries from 23 countries. For two days 50 judges worked sampling the 110 categories of butter, cheese and yogurt.

At the American Cheese Society Contest held in late July in Des Moines, IA., Pine River placed first with their Horseradish Flavor Cold Pack Cheese Food and second with Hot Habanero. “Intense, spicy, and hot flavors are growing trends with consumers and our winning flavors at the ACS are proof of that”, said Mary Lindemann, Marketing Director at Pine River Pre-Pack.

Pine River has entered the Wisconsin State Fair Cheese and Butter contest every year since 1983. In August, they took the Blue, Red, and White ribbons with their Swiss & Almond, Aged Asiago, Horseradish Flavor respectively. Philip A. Lindemann, President/CEO attended the auction night, where winning cheeses from the 28 classes were auctioned off, with the proceeds going toward student scholarships and dairy promotion.

In Madison, at the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest held in October, Pine River’s quality spreads captured the top three spots with their Swiss & Almond, Chunky Bleu & Cheddar, and an Extra Sharp Cheddar earning the top spot in their fourth contest of 2016. “We strive to continually raise the bar for ourselves. Using the highest quality ingredients and state of the art manufacturing techniques while adhering to food safety practices is at the core of our success”, added Pine River’s Operations Manager, Ian Behm, who successfully led the organization to obtain level 3 SQF (Safe Quality Food) certification in May.

Content from October 2016 Press Release


Cheese Trends of 2016

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, who represents over 9,500 dairy farm families, recently released data on the most influential cheese trends of 2016. Here are the 4 biggest findings:

Cheese Curds are No longer Regional
WMMB’S Vice President of Foodservice, Allen Hendricks says that the largest trend that he is currently seeing is the increase of popularity of cheese curds. This is in large part due to large chains, such as Yard House and Chili’s, are embracing the bite-sized snack. The “squeaky cheese” has been largely only in the Midwest region, but are now appearing on gourmet and fast food restaurants around the country.

Blue Cheese and Burgers
Wisconsin produces more than forty types of blue cheese, however, smoked blue cheese is becoming popular nationwide topping for burger lovers nationwide. Cheese producers are taking their blue cheese wheels and are immersing them in a natural smokehouse, raising its flavor profile. This trend correlates directly with the shift of consumers looking for cheese variety on their burgers, instead of the standard American cheese or Cheddar.

Spreads and Snacks
Smaller portions have been an increasingly popular trend among the food industry for the past few years. And now, as snacking and eating smaller plates have becoming more popular, the applications for food items like cheese spreads are evolving. In addition, restaurants are currently attempting to stray away from the average cream cheese and spinach dip, so they are turning to cheeses like Parmesan and Brie to give their customers a new flavorful option.

Click HERE to read more trends from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Saxon Creamery Wins at American Cheese Society 2016

Saxon Creamery, who are a part of Lake Forest Artisan Cheese, were well represented at the 2016 American Cheese Society as this year they received ribbons in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. With 260 cheese makers submitting 1,843 products, this was one of the hardest contests to judge.

The success they enjoyed at ACS is a testament to the hard work of their cheese making team and the passion for Saxon Creamery cheese that they share with cheese-lovers all over the country. Below is a list of Saxon Creamery cheeses deemed to be of the highest aesthetic and technical quality to deserve recognition of an award.

First Place Winners:
Saxon Alpine Gruyere (Class DC)
Saxon Asiago Fresca (Class HD)

Second Place Winners:
Snowfields Butterkase with Chiles and Mushroom (Class KC)

Third Place Winners:
Snowfields Butterkase (Class DC)
Saxon Alpine Gruyere,Young (Class DC)

Click HERE for more information about Saxon Creamery and their line of products.


Australian Man Successfully Trades Cheese Wheel For A Car

When Ehren Thompson bought a 77-pound cheese wheel of Parmesan from a store going out of business he had no idea he’d be making a deal of a lifetime. After purchasing, the Australian native then posted on Facebook to see if anyone was interested in swapping it for a car. Immediately he started receiving multiple responses from people who offered up their vehicles in exchange for the Parmesan wheel.

He finally accepted a deal from his cousin, and want to know the best part? His cousin let him keep the wheel! Thompson plans to cut up the cheese into slices and sell it in order to buy a new battery and help pay for registration and insurance.

Click here to read the FULL STORY.

Man Trades Cheese for Car

Cheese-Inspired Memorial Day Party Ideas


Memorial Day weekend is often considered the kick-off to summer. It is a time when people finally pull the lawn furniture from their sheds, start up the barbecue, and invite family and friends over to celebrate.

When hosting parties we understand that it can sometimes be overwhelming finding creative ideas to impress guests. So we have found 3 cheese-inspired pairings that will surely be a hit this Memorial Day weekend.

Mozzarella with Sauvignon Blanc
Our personal favorite combination is pairing mozzarella with tomatoes topped with tapenade and pesto while served with a light Sauvignon Blanc. If that doesn’t sound appealing you can also serve mozzarella with fresh olives topped with crushed garlic and olive oil.

Mini Flavored Cheddar with Pilsner
When making snack foods, add flavor to any dish by adding mini cheddar cheese to burgers, chicken, or salads. We suggest serving it along with a Lager or Pilsner to balance the taste.

Glue Cheese with Gewürztraminer 
Add blue cheese on your favorite salad, burger, or bread to add “richness and tanginess” to the meal. Pair it up with the Gewürztraminer to make the perfect summer dish for guests.

Click HERE to read other ways you can add cheese into your party this Memorial Day.

$70,000 Worth Of Stolen Cheese Sent to Landfill

In late January, cheese-burglers in the Marshfield and Germantown, WI area pulled off the biggest heist the towns have ever seen. The two burglars managed to steal $160,000 worth of Wisconsin cheese.

The cheese stolen from Germantown, WI was recently found at a Milwaukee, WI grocery store. But, don’t get too excited; the cheese hasn’t been stored properly since the robbery and has been deemed unfit to be sold. The $70,000 worth of pepperjack and Colby cheese will be sent to a landfill. An absolute travesty!

Click here to read the FULL STORY.

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October 15th is National Cheese Curd Day!

In a recent article, Craig Culver (co-founder of Culver’s), proclaimed that October 15th is National Cheese Curd Day. And, we’re pretty happy about that.

We love cheese in all forms, from bricks, to wheels, to strings, to cut-outs. But, the cheese curd has always been near and dear to our hearts. Is there really anything better than opening a fresh pack of curds and hearing that sweet squeeky sound as you take your first bite? So, this Thursday, come and stop by our pantry and cafe and pick up a fresh pack of cheese curds to celebrate this great day. Maybe the boss will even give us a day off…