U.S. Championship Cheese named

(This story has been updated to show the winner and runners-up.)

The U.S. Champion Cheese Contest has crowned a champion.

The 2023 U.S. Champion Cheese is an aged Gouda named Europa from Arethusa Farm Dairy in Bantam, Connecticut. Head Cheesemaker Eric Schmid was surprised by the announcement. Schmid says he’s originally from Wisconsin and moved east to help them make some great cheese, and he’s very proud to be involved with Arethusa Farm Dairy. “We get our milk from five local producers including our own milk on the farm. I owe it to the great farming practices local to us. This is a great honor.”

The first runner-up was Vintage Cupola American Original Cheese from Team Door Artisan Cheese Company for Red Barn Family Farms in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin with a score of 98.613. The second runner-up was a Medium Cheddar from Dillon Sylla’s team at Associated Milk Producers Inc. in Blair, Wisconsin with a score of 98.554.

A team of 42 judges evaluated 2,249 entries in many classes for the various types of cheese.  The finalists included nine cheese entries from Wisconsin, two from Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania, and one each from Minnesota, Connecticut, Vermont, Idaho, and California.

The U.S. Championship Cheese Contest began in 1981 and is the nation’s premier technical cheese, butter, and yogurt competition.  This year marks the 21st biennial edition.

Snowy weather forced officials to move up the judging schedule, and the overall champion was named Thursday at 2:00 pm CST and live-streamed so contestants and cheese fans could watch from home.

Below are the 20 finalists for the 2023 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest:

2nd runner up – Score:  98.554

Class 2: Cheddar, Medium (Three to Six Months)
Cheese Name: Cheddar
Maker: Dillon Sylla
Company: Associated Milk Producers Inc.
Location: Blair, Wisconsin

Class 4: Cheddar, Aged One to Two Years
Cheese Name: Cracker Barrel Aged Reserve Cheddar
Maker: Manufactured by Agropur – Weyauwega
Company: Lactalis Heritage Dairy
Location: Weyauwega, Wisconsin

Class 6: Traditional Waxed Cheddar, Mild to Medium
Cheese Name: Roelli Haus Select Cheddar
Maker: Team Roelli
Company: Roelli Cheese
Location: Shullsburg, Wisconsin

Class 8: Natural Rinded Cheddar
Cheese Name: Lucky Linda Clothbound Cheddar
Maker: Redhead Creamery
Company: Redhead Creamery
Location: Brooten, Minnesota

Class 12: Baby Swiss Style
Cheese Name: Baby Swiss Wheel, Rindless
Maker: DV Team 2
Company: Guggisberg Cheese
Location: Millersburg, Ohio

Class 13: Swiss Style Cheese
Cheese Name: Founder 56 Emmentaler Swiss
Maker: James Yoder
Company: Rothenbuhler Cheesemakers
Location: Middlefield, Ohio

Class 19: Provolone, Mild
Cheese Name: Mild Provolone Cheese
Maker: Cuba Team 3
Company: Great Lakes Cheese
Location: Cuba, New York

Class 23: Parmesan
Cheese Name: Organic Copper Kettle Parmesan
Maker: Team Lake Country Dairy
Company: Schuman Cheese
Location: Turtle Lake, Wisconsin

CHAMPION – Score: 98.739

Class 38: Gouda, Aged
Cheese Name: Europa
Maker: Arethusa Cheese Team
Company: Arethusa Farm Dairy
Location: Bantam, Connecticut

Class 45: Washed Rind/Smear Ripened Semi-soft Cheeses
Cheese Name: Whitney
Maker: Jasper Hill Farm
Company: Jasper Hill Farm
Location: Greensboro Bend, Vermont

Class 47: Pepper Flavored Monterey Jack, Mild Heat
Cheese Name: Pepper Jack
Maker: Juan Torres
Company: Glanbia Nutritionals
Location: Twin Falls, Idaho

Class 48: Pepper Flavored Monterey Jack, Medium Heat
Cheese Name: Ghost Pepper Jack
Maker: Jim Falls Cheese Team
Company: Associated Milk Producers Inc.
Location: Jim Falls, Wisconsin

Class 54: Open Class: Semi-soft Cheeses
Cheese Name: Cello Fontal
Maker: Lake Country Dairy
Company: Schuman Cheese
Location: Turtle Lake, Wisconsin

1st runner up – Score: 98.613

Class 55: Open Class: Hard Cheeses
Cheese Name: Vintage Cupola American Original Cheese
Maker: Team Door Artisan Cheese Company
Company: Red Barn Family Farms
Location: Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Class 56: Open Class: Cheeses with Natural Rind
Cheese Name: St. Malachi
Maker: Team Doe Run
Company: The Farm at Doe Run
Location: Coatesville, Pennsylvania

Class 59: Open Class: Hard Cheeses, Flavored
Cheese Name: Rumiano Pepato Dry Jack
Maker: Rumiano Cheese
Company: Rumiano Cheese
Location: Crescent City, California

Class 77: Hard Goat’s Milk Cheeses
Cheese Name: Hootenanny
Maker: Goat Rodeo Team
Company: Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy
Location: Allison Park, Pennsylvania

Class 83: Hard Sheep’s Milk Cheeses
Cheese Name: Sweet Annie
Maker: Landmark Creamery
Company: Landmark Creamery
Location: Belleville, Wisconsin

Class 86: Soft & Semi-soft Mixed Milk Cheeses
Cheese Name: Breezy Blue
Maker: Kingston Cheese Team
Company: Kingston Creamery
Location: Cambria, Wisconsin

Class 88: Hard Mixed Milk Cheeses
Cheese Name: Wegmans Three Milk Gouda
Maker: Todd Pontius
Company: Old Chatham Creamery
Location: Groton, New York

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