Today in good cheese news: The best cheese in the USA has been named. And it is...a baby Swiss from Ohio, according to a press release from the venerable Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.
The winner, made by Guggisberg Cheese of Millersburg, Ohio, scored an impressive 98.54 points of out 100 in the WCMA’s 2019 US Championship Cheese Contest, beating 2,555 other cheeses from 35 states for the top spot. Previously, Guggisberg also won the championship with its Premium Swiss in 2015, making it the third producer to win the title twice.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that baby Swiss—which, as you may have guessed, is aged for less time than traditional Swiss—was actually invented in the 1960s by Guggisberg’s founder, a Swiss-born cheesemaker named Alfred Guggisberg who set out to make a cheese that had smaller “eyes” and a creamier taste than classic Swiss. In a congratulatory statement, WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer praised Guggisberg’s “recipe for success.”
Meanwhile, both the second and third prize went to contenders from Marieke Gouda of Thorp, Wisconsin, founded by Marieke Penterman. With just a tenth of a point less than the winner, Marieke’s Gouda Premium scored 98.41 points, while its Gouda Overjarige earned 98.39 points.
Although Wisconsin didn’t quite bring home the championship this year, “Wisconsin cheesemakers dominated the 2019 competition,” the association noted in its press release, “earning gold medals in 60 of the 116 contest classes and sweeping the gold, silver, and bronze medals in 25 classes.” New York cheesemakers won nine gold medals, while California and Idaho each won six.
Coincidentally, an an entire cookbook dedicated to Wisconsin cheese (the Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook: Creamy, Cheesy, Sweet, and Savory Recipes from the State’s Best Creameries) and its multi-generational history was just published earlier this month, tailor-made for the person for whom a wheel of cheese makes the world go round. Best of all, if you just want to get your hands on a few of America’s best cheeses, you can easily order online from both Guggisberg Cheese and Marieke Gouda.
Baby Swiss? Gouda? What's your favorite cheese from the USA? Tell us in the comments!