March 13, 2008
No, you don't wear it on your head
It was just over a week ago that Gov. Doyle introduced Wisconsin's new "tourism brand platform" by saying, "Yes, we can be a state where we wear cheese on our heads..."
He probably wasn't thinking of Gruyere.
The state's big cheese news today concerns a Swiss Gruyere, named the 2008 World Championship Cheese in Madison by an international panel of expert judges.
Cheesemaker Michael Spycher, of Kaserei Fritzenhaus (translates as Cheesemaker Fritz House; go figger) in Wasen, Switzerland, took top honors out of 1,941 entries from 19 countries. Out of possible 100 points, his Gruyere scored 98.82 points.
First runner-up, with a score of 98.56, is a Gorgonzola made by CERPL Cheesemakers of Italy. Second runnerup is an Emmentaler in the Rinded Swiss Style category, made by Bernhard Naf, of Guntershausen, Switzerland, which scored 98.42.
Overall, U.S. cheesemakers dominated the competition, earning gold medals in 46 of the 77 categories, 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.
Near as I could tell, no mention of Velveeta. Or wearing cheese on your head. Oversights, no doubt.
The World Championship Cheese Contest is the largest international cheese and butter competition in the world. For more information visit www.wischeesemakersassn.