Wisconsin lived up to its “Dairy State” nickname in this year’s US Championship Cheese contest—taking home more than half of all awards. While the state lost the coveted title of “World Cheese Champion” to a surprising state, Connecticut, Wisconsin claimed the top prize many times in the past.
Here are a few past award-winners to elevate your next charcuterie board:
Pleasant Ridge Reserve
From Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville
It’s an aged, alpine-style cheese made from grass-fed milk that’s rich and salty, with a long fruity finish and a distinctive flavor. Pleasant Ridge Reserve became the most-awarded cheese in American history after winning its third “Best in Show” title at the 2010 American Cheese Society competition.
Grand Cru Surchoix
From Roth Cheese in Monroe
It’s another alpine-style cheese that’s aged a minimum of nine months to create a firm texture and complex flavors of caramel, fruit, and mushroom. While Roth makes an entire line of Grand Cru cheeses, only a few wheels meet the cheesemakers’ stringent aging requirements to become Surchoix, which means “a cut above the rest.”
Black Pepper BellaVitano
Made by Sartori in Plymouth
It’s a nutty, fruity, cow’s milk cheese best described as a hybrid of a young, creamy cheddar with the crystalline crunch of a premium parmesan. But if you’re not a pepper person, try the company’s other flavors of BellaVitano, including Espresso, Chai, Raspberry, Merlot, and Citrus Ginger.
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