Wisco Domination at U.S. Cheese Contest

Tom Giffey

Marieke Penterman, left, shows off her award-winning cheese at the U.S. Champion Cheese Contest. Image: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Marieke Penterman, left, shows off her award-winning cheese at the U.S. Champion Cheese Contest. Image: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

Wisconsin cheese stood alone in the winners’ circle at the recently completed 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in Green Bay. West-central Wisconsin’s own Marieke Gouda of Thorp took third place overall for its Marieke Gouda Belegen. The Grand Champion Cheese title went to the Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano from Sartori in Antigo, while first runner up was the Aged Cheddar from Agropur in Weyauwega. The competition drew more than 2,300 cheeses, butters, and yogurts from 33 states. According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, “Wisconsin captured 60 percent of all awards, winning 184 awards total, including the top three titles, 62 Best of Class awards, 63 second place, and 56 third place awards.” Among the winners in their classes were the Marieke Gouda Belegen, which won Best of Class honors in the Edam and Gouda category, and Marieke Gouda Aged, which won Best of Class in the Aged Gouda category. Overall, Marieke Gouda won 11 medals. Other cheesemakers from the region honored at the championship included AMPI of Jim Falls, which won Best of Class in the Mild Cheddar category, and LaGrander’s Hillside Dairy of Stanley, which took Best of Class for Colby.