French cheese wins big at World Championship Cheese Contest

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- A hard sheep's milk cheese imported from France was named the 2018 winner of the World Championship Cheese Contest.

The company, Savencia Cheese USA from Pennsylvania entered Esquirrou in this year's competition. It is crafted in the Pyr?n?es region of France, aged no less than 90 days, and features nutty notes and a toasted wheat aroma.

Judges rated 3,402 cheeses in the two day competition. 20 finalists, including 5 Wisconsin cheeses were named on Thursday. The Grand Champion was named Thursday night at the Monona Terrace in Madison.

A total of 26 nations were represented in the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest, and U.S. cheesemakers dominated the competition, earning gold medals in 87 of the 121 contest classes. Switzerland came in second with nine golds, and cheesemakers in Netherlands earned seven golds.

"We salute World Championship Cheese Contest winners for their innovation and commitment to excellence in their craft," said John Umhoefer, Executive Director for the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, which hosts the biennial competition.

The contest is hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Maker's Association. It is considered the largest cheese, butter, and yogurt competition in the world. It is held on opposite years of the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in Green Bay.

To see the full results from the 2018 contest, click here.