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Locals are big cheeses in contest
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MADISON - Wisconsin cheesemakers swept the 25th annual American Cheese Society Competition July 25 in Chicago, Ill., capturing 91 ribbons, including the prestigious Best of Show prize.

Klondike Cheese Factory, Monroe, took two first-place ribbons, for their Peppercorn Feta and Dill Havarti, at the competition, as well as second place for their plain Feta and third place for their brick.

Adam Buholzer, a fourth-generation family member of the family-owned factory, said the Peppercorn Feta has been one of their top cheeses since the mid-1980s. The Dill Havarti is a more recent product, beginning around 2002.

Klondike submitted seven cheeses, and Buholzer said the family is happy with the competition results.

Roth Käse USA captured the rest of the flavor-added Havarti category with second place for its Peppadew Havarti and third place for Jalapeno Havarti.

Other area cheesemakers earning first-place ribbons include:

• Brunkow Cheese, Darlington: Brun-uusto Jalapeno Baked Cheese

• Edelweiss Creamery, Monticello: Emmentaler

• Maple Leaf Cooperative, Juda: English Hollow cheddar

• Roth Käse USA, Monroe: Gran Queso

• Hoch Enterprises Inc., New Glarus: Aged cheddar greater than 48 months and aged cheddar less than 12 months (both Braun Suisse Kase)

Cheesemakers are allowed only one entry in each category.

Of 1,149 total entries, Wisconsin cheesemakers scored nearly one-third of all awards bestowed, more than any other state. America's Dairyland's 91 awards included 25 firsts, 32 seconds and 34 thirds.

In addition to claiming the most first-place awards, Wisconsin cheesemakers swept seven categories.

Cheese are evaluated on aesthetic criteria (taste, texture and aroma), and technical criteria (how well the cheese is made).

American Cheese Society Competition is the largest cheese competition in North America. Thirty judges sampled the cheeses of 181 producers representing 30 states and three Canadian provinces.

For more information about Wisconsin award winners, visit