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Marisa Cheese
Class 4 gold medal winner “Marissa” from Carr Valley Cheese is a seasonal soft cheese made with milk from pastured Wisconsin shee[. Its flavor is mellow, complex and sweet— qualities that reminded cheesemaker Sid Cook of his daughter, Marisa. This winner also took 1st place at the 2004 American Cheese Society Competition and 2nd place at the 2004 Wisconsin State Fair.
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July 2006

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cheese-Butter-Yogurt

2006 World Cheese Awards

Best Curds Of The Year

 

 

The United States is home to some of the greatest cheesemakers in the world, as it proved at the 19th annual World Cheese Awards*, the most prestigious international cheese competition. The 2006 awards ceremony, held in London on June 14 as part of the Taste of London food show, yielded 43 medals for the home team—nearly one-third captured by Wisconsin, which took 15 medals including six gold, four silver and five bronze. California came in second for the U.S. contingent, with 13 medals including three gold, three silver and seven bronze.

*The World Cheese Awards, held annually in London, should not be confused with the World Cheese Championships, which are sponsored by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) every two years in Wisconsin, generally in March.

The competition attracted 1,524 entries from four continents. Judging is no easy job: 120 experts from around the world evaluate a total of 1542 cheeses over two days. In all, 135 gold, 132 silver and 157 bronze awards were presented to the top cheese producers from the U.S., Europe, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. “The prestige of winning Gold at the World Cheese Awards is close to taking Gold in the Olympics,” commented Bob Farrand of the U.K. Cheese Guild and chairman of the contest.

Grand Prize Winner

A French sheep’s milk cheese, a 10-month old Ossau-Iraty Brebis (brebis is the word for a ewe’s milk cheese) from Fromagerie Agour in the Pays Basque region, won title of World Champion. Fromagerie Agour, founded in 1981 by Jean Etcheleku and run by Jean and his son Peio, also won the top prize in 2002 for their Petit Agour sheep’s milk cheese and has won 11 other medals for their cheeses including two gold.

Ossau Iraty BrebisOnly a few tons of Ossau-Iraty Brebis are produced every year by the small family business, located in the lush foothills of the French Pyrenees near the village of Helette It received 90 of a possible 100 points. The judging panel, made up of cheese experts from around the world, said the Brebis was “a privilege to eat,” with both a salty and slightly sweet taste, which “melted on the palate.” It also won the gold in the hard ewe’s milk cheese category, and it’s “sister” 6-month old Ossau-Iraty received the bronze award in the category.

Ossau-Iraty is similar to, but slightly softer than, sheep’s milk cheeses such as Italian pecorino or Spanish manchego. It can be enjoyed with membrillo (quince paste), which is how the Spanish eat manchego.

Second place went to Bradbury & Son’s Defendi Gorgonzola Caravaggio, which won best blue cheese. “The judging was the closest this year that it has ever been in the Awards’ 19-year history,” said Farrand. “The Brebis was overall winner but the Gorgonzola Caravaggio came a very close second. This just goes to show the fantastic quality of the cheese entered.”

Other notable winners included Healey’s Farmhouse Cheddar, awarded the Agri-Expo trophy for Best South African Cheese; the Antigo Cheese Company’s Aged Stravecchio Parmesan, awarded best U.S. Cow’s Milk Cheese; the U.K.’s Bradbury & Son’s Defendi Gorgonzola Caravaggio, which took Best Blue PDO Cheese; and Wensleydale Dairy Products’ Traditional Wensleydale, which won Best English Cheese.

The U.S. winners below. Cheese-lovers may wish to map out a plan to taste as many as possible—perhaps at a series of “taste the winners” wine and cheese parties.

U.S. Winners

Class 1b: Soft goats’ milk cheese plain - mold-ripened
-Buche Noir, Fire Fly Farms, Bittinger, Md., Silver
-Marin French Chevre, Marin French Cheese Co., Petaluma, Calif., Silver

Class 4: Soft ewes’ milk cheese plain
-Marisa 100% Sheep Milk, Carr Valley Cheese, La Valle, Wis., Gold
-Alderbrook, Willow Hill Farm, Milton, Vt., Gold
-Vermont Brebis, Willow Hill Farm, Milton, Vt., Silver

Class 5a: Semi-hard ewes’ milk cheese plain
-San Andreas Raw Ewe’s Milk Cheese Aged 3 months, Bellwether Farms, Petaluma, Calif., Gold

Class 5b: Hard ewes’ milk cheese plain

-Cave Aged Marisa Sheep Milk, Carr Valley Cheese, La Valle, Wis., Gold

Class 8: Cheese made with the milk of more than one animal
-Canaria Mixed Milk, Carr Valley Cheese, La Valle, Wis., Gold
-Gran Canaria Mixed Milk, Carr Valley Cheese, La Valle, Wis., Bronze

Class 9a: Fresh/cream cheese cows’ milk plain
-Petit Dejeuner, Marin French Cheese Co., Petaluma, Calif., Gold

Class 10b: Mould ripened soft or unpressed cows’ milk cheese with savory additives
-Garlic Brie, Marin French Cheese Co., Petaluma, Calif., Bronze
-Pesto Brie, Marin French Cheese Co., Petaluma, Calif., Bronze

Class 10c: Soft or unpressed cows’ milk cheese with savory additives

-Pesto & Dried Tomato Cream Cheese Torta, Rising Sun Farms, Phoenix, Ore., Bronze

Class 12b: Mascarpone
-Mascarpone, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Wis., Bronze

Class 13b: Quark with additives

-Wild Blackberry Quark, Marin French Cheese Co., Petaluma, Calif., Gold

Class 14b: Brie made from pasteurized milk
-Petit Crème, Marin French Cheese Co., Petaluma, Calif., Bronze

Class 21a: Blue vein cheese made outside the U.K., any variety, uncut, natural rind

-Rogue River Blue, The Rogue Creamery, Central Point, Ore., Silver
-Mountain Top Bleu, Fire Fly Farms, Bittinger, Md., Silver

Class 21b: Blue vein cheese made outside the U.K., any variety, uncut, foil wrapped
-Crater Lake Blue, The Rogue Creamery, Central Point, Ore., Bronze

Class 24: Processed cheese or processed cheese spread plain

-Black Diamond Extra Sharp Cheddar Cold Pack Spread, DCI Cheese Co., Richfield, Wis., Silver

Class 27a: Other smoked cheese - soft/semi soft

-Great Midwest Smokey Jack, DCI Cheese Co., Richfield, Wis., Gold
-Rofumo, Roth Kase USA, Monroe, Wis., Silver

Class 28b: Other hard pressed or repressed cows’ milk cheese with savory additives

-Western Sage Cheddar, Bravo Farms, Visalia, Calif., Silver
-Green Peppercorn Rachette, Leelanau Cheese Co., Suttons Bay, Mich., Silver

Class 29: Mature traditional Cheddar made after 01/06/05
- Mature Traditional Cheddar, Cabot Creamery, Montpelier, Vt., Silver

Class 38: Extra Mature traditional Cheddar made after 01/02/05
-Bandage Wrapped Premium Cheddar, Fiscalini Cheese Co., Modesto, Calif., Bronze

Class 43: Vintage Cheddar made in a creamery before 01/02/05

-4 Star, 4 Year Aged Cheddar, Grafton Village Cheese, Grafton, Vt., Bronze

Class 50a: Mozzarella, fresh, cows’ milk in ball (large or small)
-Fresh Mozzarella – Acid Set, Mozzarella Fresca, Benicia, Calif., Gold
-Whole Milk Mozzarella Boconcini, Cantaré Foods, San Diego, Silver
-Fresh Mozzarella - Cryovac, Mozzarella Fresca, Benicia, Calif., Bronze

Class 50b: Mozzarella, block, slices or string
-LMPS Mozzarella, Dairy Farmers of America, New Wilmington, Pa., Bronze

Class 51: Semi-hard cheese not in any other class

-Granqueso, Roth Kase USA, Monroe, Wis., Gold
-Carmody Semi Hard Cows’ Milk Unpressed, 2 months, Bellwether Farms, Petaluma, Calif., Bronze
-Rachette Cheese – Semi Hard Washed Rind Aged Rachette, Leelanau Cheese Co., Suttons Bay, Mich., Bronze

Class 54:  Rind washed cheese not in any other class

-Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Uplands Cheese Co., Dodgeville, Wis., Silver
-Rind Washed Brick Cheese, Widmer’s Cheese Cellars, Theresa, Wis., Bronze

Class 55: Hard pressed cheese other than Cheddar and other UK territorials

-Cougar Gold, Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., Gold
-San Joaquin Gold, Fiscalini Cheese Co., Modesto, Calif., Silver

Class 57c: Very hard cheese not in any other class
-Stravecchio Parmesan, Antigo Cheese Co., Antigo, Wis., Gold

Class 58d: All other new cheeses (Open to any new cheese first marketed after 1/06/05)
-Billy Blue Goat Milk, Carr Valley Cheese, La Valle, Wis., Bronze

Class 60: Cheese produced on farm or dairy with a total output not exceeding a weekly average of 2 tons
-Petit Frère, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, Wis., Silver
-Sharp Gouda, Winchester Cheese Co., Winchester, Calif., Bronze

Class 62a: Edam and Gouda - made before 01/06/05
-Vintage Van Gogh, Roth Kase USA, Monroe, Wis., Bronze

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