Rockford area dairy makers to compete in cheese world championship
This year’s competition runs from Tuesday, March 1 through Thursday, March 3 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.
MADISON, Wis. (WIFR) – At least three dairy-based companies from the Stateline will be in the Dairyland State for the world’s top cheese, butter and yogurt competition.
The World Championship Cheese Contest is hosted once every two years by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) since 1957. This year’s competition runs from Tuesday, March 1 through Thursday, March 3 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center and features 2,919 entries from 28 countries and 31 states, including competitors from Illinois and Wisconsin.
“It’s the only one of its kind of its size in the world,” says WCMA Communications Director Grace Atherton. “One of the really cool things about this competition is that it showcases such a variety of products that are being made across the world and to bring them all together is really fascinating.”
New to this year’s pool of more than 141 classes include separate categories for flavored and unflavored cheese curds.
Among the local entries are Nuestro Queso based in Kent, Savencia Cheese USA of Lena and Freeport-based Deerland Dairy.
Paul Grayvill is a part-owner of Deerland Dairy, which started in 2019. This will be their first time in the competition. They entered their plain yogurt but Grayvill says he’s going in with an open mind.
“We’re a very small-scale dairy operation compared to a lot of the people participating in that contest. So it’ll be nice to see how we stack up compared to some of the larger brands,” says Grayvill. “We really don’t aren’t going in expecting to win anything but it’ll be neat to see the feedback from the judges to how we can hopefully improve our product.”
Another local competitor, Hispanic Cheese Makers, is no stranger to the competition. Nuestro Queso won a bronze medal at the world championship in 2020 for ‘Latin American Style Fresh Cheese Queso Fresco.
“We’re specializing in giving our customers what they need to win in the Hispanic cheese market which is growing at double digits,” says Marketing Manager Arturo Nava. “We are very proud of our product and we’re hoping to win again this year.”
Each product starts with a score of 100 points. Then industry experts look at the product and take off points based on flavor, texture and other defects.
Preliminary judging will be on March 1-2. The final round of judging, including the top three winners, will be announced on the event’s Facebook page at 2 p.m. on March 3.
23 News reached out to Savencia to comment on their participation in the competition but didn’t hear back.
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