Wisconsin dairy in the spotlight

BARRY ADAMS

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin dairy farmers are certainly consistent.

They dominate the World Championships and American Cheese Championships held every other year in March, presented by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

And so is another burgeoning competition, the Madison-based World Dairy Expo Championship dairy competition.

Wisconsin companies took top honors in 28 of 94 product categories, swept the top three spots in six categories and produced one of the top three show winners, according to results from the month’s three-day event. last at Madison Area Technical College.

Lake Country Dairy, a subsidiary of Schuman Cheese based near Turtle Lake in northwestern Wisconsin, swept the Mascarpone category with its Cello Mascarpone selected as Grand Champion Cheese and Butter. The cheese, made from fresh milk and sweet cream, is great for topping cannoli or using in a tiramisu recipe, according to the company’s website. Lake Country also earned first place in the Italian Hard Cheese and Flavored Natural Cheese categories.

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  • A French onion dip made by Hiland Dairy in Chandler, Oklahoma, was selected as the Category A grand champion.
  • The chocolate ice cream produced by Southeastern Grocers, in Jacksonville, Florida, was the big ice cream champion.

The contest products included cheese, butter, liquid milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, sour cream, sorbet, cultured milk, sour cream dips, cream whipping cream, whey and creative and innovative products from dairy processors across North America.

“This year’s contest broke all records, reflecting how strongly dairy processors have embraced this unique and special event,” said Brad Legreid, executive director of the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, which organizes the annual contest. “As the only dairy competition of its kind in the world, the dairy industry has quickly learned of the countless benefits that come from participating in the competition. Winning companies turn their success into unprecedented marketing and retail opportunities, while other companies receive valuable insights from the 50 highly trained sensory experts who judge their products.

First-place winners will be auctioned Oct. 4 at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, with a portion of the proceeds used to fund scholarships awarded each year to students pursuing careers in the dairy industry. The contest was founded in 2003 when there were just 100 entries, but has grown steadily. This year there were 1,560 entries from across North America.

  • Madison’s Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co., which had the best mint ice cream, won the Philly Vanilla category with its Vanilla Bean ice cream. It placed first in the open-class ice cream category with its London Fog, described on the company’s website as a “creamy, smooth Earl Gray milk tea reimagined as your new favorite ice cream.”
  • Kwik Trip’s dairy plant in La Crosse, Wis., won first place in the cookies and cookie dough ice cream category with its Brookie Dough ice cream.
  • Sassy Cow Creamery near Columbus, Wisconsin had the best vanilla ice cream in the contest and the best 2% white milk.
  • Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese near Waterloo, Wisconsin celebrates its 20th anniversary. It had the best plain cheese curd and also won best in the Mozzarella category with its Marinated Fresh Mozzarella.
  • Foremost Farms in Reedsburg, Wisconsin won the salted butter category.
  • Prairie Farms Dairy near Shullsburg, Wisconsin produced the baby-Swiss vest.
  • Lactalis near Belmont, Wisconsin, placed first in the feta cheese category.

The first place winners will be auctioned on October 4 at the World Dairy Expo in Madison.

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About Thomas B. Countryman

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