Wisconsin not only dominated the competition at the recent U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in Green Bay, but claimed the U.S. Champion award. Marieke Penterman of Holland’s Family Cheese in Thorp took the honor with Mature Gouda, scoring 98.31 points of a possible 100. It was one of nine ribbons awarded the company.
The Penterman family personifies a real Wisconsin success story since emigrating from the Netherlands to Wisconsin in 2002. Marieke made her first Gouda in 2006 and earned her first contest ribbon—a best of class—in 2007. Since then, Holland’s Family Cheese has collected more than 60 awards. Marieke’s husband Rolf and his brother Sander operate the farm that provides milk to the creamery where the cheese is made, located on the farm.
Wisconsin also won a second overall award. Team Cracker Barrel Natural Cheese crafted by Agropur Weyauwega for Kraft Foods was awarded second runner-up for medium Cheddar. First runner-up was a cheese from Vermont, Tarentaise.
Wisconsin’s total 142 awards captured 58 percent of the contest total 246, claiming 48 golds (best of class), 44 seconds, and 48 thirds. The state winning the second highest number of awards, New York, claimed 22.
Forty-nine Wisconsin companies took one or more awards, with nine garnering five or more. They are:
-Carr Valley Cheese
-Holland’s Family Cheese
-Kraft (includes Agropur Weyauwega Cracker Barrel)
-Burnett Dairy Co-op
-Emmi Roth USA.
This year’s competition had a record-setting number of entries at 1,702 from 30 states.