The top cheeses in the country were competing for honors this week in Green Bay. One sure winner was a local food pantry that received not just a check, but also thousands of pounds of cheddar.
The United States Championship Cheese Contest took in its most entries ever, this year: 1,702.
Sixteen varieties made the final round. Jim Unhoeffer is the executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. He says Wisconsin dominated the finals with thirteen contestants:
"This is best in show. All these things have already won a gold medal which in their world of marketing is good, and good enough."
Cheese lovers paid to attend the final judging and raised an estimated $5,000 dollars for food bank Paul's Pantry. Its director is Craig Robbins; he'll also be distributing a lot of cheese.
"We received a pallet of probably around 6,000 pounds or more from the mild class, mild cheddar class."
Robbins says mild cheddar will go over well: "We didn't receive any of the sheep's milk cheese class; the mild cheddar is great."
Robbins says cheese is always popular with his clients.
"Paul's Pantry is kind of famous for cheese in a way. Our founder, Leo Frigo, was a cheesemaker, his family business was Frigo Cheese. So that's a nice tie to Paul's Pantry."
Robbins says Paul's Pantry is serving the most it ever has: 13,000 people in Brown County. He says half of them are children.
Updated: Marieke Penterman, of Holland's Family Cheese in Thorp, Wisconsin, won top honors in the competition with her "Marieke Mature Gouda."