According to the more than 50 World Championship Cheese Contest judges, Jim Falls has some pretty Gouda cheese – if not grate.
For the second competition in a row, a batch of Colby Jack cheese from Associated Milk Producers Inc. from Jim Falls was named Best of Class at the championships in Madison March 6-8.
According to the Associated Press, organizers saw a record 3,402 entries this year, up 15 percent from the 2016 competition. The Wisconsin State Journal reports the competition is hosted every other year and had 26 nations with entries this year.
Vice President of Public Affairs Sarah Schmidt said the winning 40 pounds of Colby Jack from Jim Falls is part of a regular slab of cheese the plant makes every day.
“The super cool thing about AMPI Jim Falls Colby Jack… that’s representative of cheese we make every day,” Schmidt said. “In that plant they make 600 pound blocks of cheese every day, so when it comes time for the contest, we just pull one of those blocks, cut it down to 40 pound block and that’s what we send on.”
Judges are looking for the smell, look, slicing, touch and taste capabilities of the cheeses for judgement, Schmidt said.
Staying true to its “cheesehead” spirit, Wisconsin dominated the competition at the contest, winning 49 gold medals, 51 silver medals and 47 bronze medals for a total of 147 medals, according to Wisconsin Cheese. New York was the next closest in total medals with 26, and Switzerland came second in gold medals with 10.
U.S. cheesemakers were awarded medals in 87 of the 120 classes, the State Journal reported. Wisconsin Cheese reported the state swept 22 of these categories.
Despite the Wisconsin out-performing its competition in the medal count, the top spot was awarded to an Esquirrou from France, a hard sheep’s milk kind of cheese. Not be outdone by its equally-as-cheese-fanatic international competition, Wisconsin had state-made products in the running for the big cheese of the competition, according to the State Journal.