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Cheesemaker wins fourth World Championship

A small Swiss mountain creamery has won its fourth World Champion Cheese award and third in a row. 

Michael Spycher makes cheese at Mountain Dairy Fritzenhaus for Gourmino cheese in Bern, Switzerland.  His Hornbacher cheese is named for the river that flows by the creamery.  It scored 98.98 out of 100 possible points to top the 3,302 entries in this year’s contest.

Gourmino’s Joe Salonia was in Madison, Wisconsin Thursday when the champion was named.  He tells Brownfield the cheese is made with milk from small, nearby farms. “It’s just maybe within five or six kilometers, there are nine or ten dairy farmers that will deliver twice a day, fresh, raw, beautiful Swiss cows milk.”

Salonia says the Area of Protection, or AOP, has strict guidelines for local Swiss farmers. “They must be outside a minimum number of days, even in the wintertime. They must be fed only grass or hay with a small allowance for maybe a little snack that the cows might have like, you know, some grains but never silage, which is the preserved hay because that would produce gas bubbles that would mess up long ripening for raw milk cheese.”

Salonia says the local farmers milk mostly Holstein and Red Fleckvieh cows, a Simmental-Red Holstein hybrid.

Michael Spycher’s creamery has now won four world championships including the last three in a row. 

The World Championship Cheese Contest is hosted every two years by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

AUDIO: Joe Salonia discusses cheesemaking at the home of the World Champion cheese in Bern, Switzerland.

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