That headline is not a joke. Do I wish with my cheesiest of Wisconsin born and bred hearts that it was? Yes, because I can only imagine the depths of despair cheeseheads have been plunged into after a team of Swiss cheesemakers swooped in and grabbed the title of World Champion during this year’s competition on sacred dairy ground. Otherwise known as Madison, WI.
Sure, the Wisconsin State Journal paints a rosy picture, noting that the state’s own cheesemakers “dominated” with first-place titles in 34 of 90 categories (pause for preening), but the Big Cheese/World Champion title went to a ginormous half-wheel of rinded Swiss Emmentaler during the 30th biennial World Championship Cheese Contest.
European cheesemakers took home three of the top overall cheeses, with the first runner-up going to an Austrian team for its hard cheese and a second runner-up spot for a Gruyere from Switzerland.
The curd is likely tasting especially sour for Wisconsin, as the state hasn’t had a world championship cheese since 1988. Keep hope alive, my lactose-loving brethren: the competition’s chief judge (and the person I am most jealous of in the world) says Wisconsin’s success in cheese is growing due to the state’s higher quality of milk.
“We’ve got the right climate here in Wisconsin, the right feed, and it produces a well-balanced cheese,” he explained. “They’ve improved the milk supply immensely in the last 15 to 20 years. When I was making cheese back in the 1960s and 1970s, it was nothing like it is today. Everybody else follows our lead, basically.”
Maybe stop providing such a good lead for the Swiss to follow then, because I don’t know if the state can handle such a loss again. And when I say “the state” I mean, me.
Switzerland wins top prize but Wisconsin dominates the World Championship Cheese Contest [Wisconsin State Journal]
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