Swiss Gruyere Wins World Championship Cheese Title

MADISON, Wis., March 13 /PRNewswire/ — An international panel of expert judges today named a Swiss Gruyere cheese as the 2008 World Championship Cheese.

Cheesemaker Michael Spycher, of Kaserei Fritzenhaus (Cheesemaker Fritz House) in Wasen, Switzerland, took top honors out of 1,941 entries from 19 countries for his Le Gruyere Switzerland. Out of possible 100 points, the Gruyere scored 98.82 in the final round of judging, during which judges re-evaluated all gold-winning cheeses to determine the champion.

First runner-up in the contest, with a score of 98.56, is a Gorgonzola made by CERPL Cheesemakers in Italy. The cheese is made for DCI Cheese Company. Second runner-up is an Emmentaler in the Rinded Swiss Style category, made by Bernhard Naf, of Kaserei Gunetershausen, in Guntershausen, Switzerland, which scored 98.42.

“These cheesemakers have participated in the largest international cheese competition ever held. Every medalist should be extremely proud of their accomplishment,” said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, which hosts the biennial competition.

Overall, U.S. cheesemakers dominated the competition, earning gold medals in 46 of the total 77 categories judged, including golds in both butter classes and in the retail packaging class. Netherlands came in second among the countries, with eight golds; Denmark had six; Canada had four and Switzerland took three. Austria, Australia and Spain all won two gold medals, while Sweden, Italy, France and South Africa each captured one apiece.

Among U.S. states, Wisconsin dominated with 27 gold medals. New York took five golds, California and Idaho each took three, Iowa two, and Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island each earned one gold medal.

The World Championship Cheese Contest is the largest international cheese and butter competition in the world. For more information on the contest, as well as complete results for all 77 entry classes and contest photos, visit

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Source: World Championship Cheese Contest