2009 American Cheese Society winners announced

by Editorial Staff
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AUSTIN, TEXAS — Rogue Creamery, Central Point, Ore., won the Best of Show for its Rogue River Blue at the 26th Annual American Cheese Society (A.C.S.) Judging and Competition. Results were announced Aug. 7 at the Hilton Austin, site of this year’s annual conference.

"We are honored, grateful and thankful for our team," said Cary Bryant, co-owner of Rogue Creamery. "We bring so many people together to create this cheese, and they do a wonderful job. I’m really proud of them. I’m also thankful for all the people who support us and enjoy our cheese. Without them we wouldn’t be doing it."

Rogue River Blue is a blue cheese hand wrapped in grape leaves harvested from Carpenter Hill Vineyards in the Rogue River Valley. The leaves have been macerated in Clear Creek Pear Brandy.

Rogue Creamery has won numerous awards, including World’s Best Blue Cheese at the World Cheese Awards in London, a first for a U.S. creamery.

Other noteworthy winners include second place winner Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk, a Best of Show recipient in 2003. Third place was a tie between Carr Valley Cheese’s Cave Aged Mellage and Consider Bardwell Farm’s Rupert. The competition’s judges, selected from academia and industry, select Best of Show and second and third place from among the blue-ribbon winners.

Out of 314 ribbons awarded, the state of Wisconsin scored the most with 92, while California came in second with 45. Cheesemakers in the state of Vermont captured 32 ribbons.

"We had a record turnout with 1,327 entries this year from 197 companies," said David Grotenstein, chairman of the judging and competition committee and director of purchasing and operations with Garden of Eden Gourmet markets in New York and New Jersey. "We saw surges in blue cheeses and farmstead cheeses. Goat cheeses, both fresh and aged, were up dramatically."

The conference — a gathering of cheese makers, academicians, enthusiasts, marketers, distributors, food writers and retailers from the United States, Canada and Europe — celebrates the widespread enthusiasm for American specialty cheese. More than 700 attended this year’s conference, participating in educational seminars on subjects ranging from the art of maturing cheese, to pairings of Texas artisan cheese with Texas craft beer. Every year, the conference culminates in the Festival of Cheese, a public event featuring more than 1,100 competition entries on display and available for tasting.

The complete judging and competition results are available at www.cheesesociety.org.

This article can also be found in the digital edition of Food Business News, August 18, 2009, starting on Page 42. Click
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