Meet the 4 Tastiest Cheeses in the Country!
Earlier this week, the winners of the American Cheese Society's 2022 Judging & Competition Awards were announced at the 39th ACS Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon! With judging happening a while back in May 2022, entrants and cheese lovers alike were anxious to hear which cheeses would be crowned best in the country.
Each product entered into the competition is judged blindly by "select judges who possess the utmost levels of expertise, ethics, and reliability. ACS Judges are food professionals selected from academia and the dairy sciences industry, as well as culture manufacturers, food retailers, food distributors, and members of the food media."
The judges work in pairs--one assesses the technical aspects of each cheese while the other assess the aesthetic qualities. According to the American Cheese Society website, "Technical Judges deduct points for flaws and defects from a perfect score of 50; Aesthetic Judges award points for outstanding characteristics and qualities to a maximum of 50...Awards are given to cheeses and cultured dairy products which have achieved technical excellence and exhibit the highest aesthetic qualities."
Now that we know how they're judged, let us introduce the cheeses that were awarded the highest number of points by the esteemed judges.
3rd Place: Greensward; The Cellars at Jasper Hill and Murray's Cheese
This soft-ripened, washed rind cheese is the result of a collaboration of the Cellars at Jasper
Hill of Greensboro, VT, and Murray’s Cheese of Long Island City, NY. Murray's describes this oozing beauty as "bold and creamy, Murray’s Cavemaster Reserve Greensward captures the space between city and country, balancing competing flavors to create a cheese that is delicately pungent. The silky, oozing, spoonable paste combines tastes of mushrooms and brandied cherries with woodsy, sprucy notes." We'll take a spoonful for sure! You can purchase this now award-winning cheese on the Murray's Cheese website.
2nd Place: Bamboozle; Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy
This is a beer-washed cow and goat's milk cheese from Allison Park, PA. Goat Rodeo's website describes Bamboozle as "Supple, semi-soft texture with notes of prosciutto and peanuts, this washed rind goat and cow’s milk cheese is washed with beer from Cinderlands Beer Co. Equally at home on a cheese board or melted on a burger." Bamboozle has won several other awards, including a first place medal at the 2022 World Championship Cheese Contest. Get your hooves on this one via Goat Rodeo's website!
2nd Place: Flagsheep; Beecher's Handmade Cheese
Tyed with Bamboozle at second place, Flagsheep is a clothbound cheddar-style cow and sheep's milk cheese. It's dense and slightly crunchy with a fruity, caramelized taste. Even more delicious served on a toasted baguette with a drizzle of honey. Flagsheep is available for purchase on Beecher's website.
1st Place: Whitney; Jasper Hill Farm
Jasper Hill's second cheese to place in the top three! Inspired by the mountain cheeses of Europe, this raw cow's milk cheese has a smooth, semi-firm texture that is great for melting. The wheels are washed with a naturally cultured brine, and spent yeast from a local winery. This process adds a "floral funk to the rich but mellow paste". "Whitney’s aromatics are deeply toasty, with notes of cooked onion & crispy-skinned roasted chicken. Whitney is meaty, sweet, and slightly funky, but these bold flavors are balanced out by its buttery smoothness." Its floral, fruity and nutty notes linger on the palate, so it is fitting that this cheese is named after Jasper Hill's longest-standing employee: Tim Whitney. Purchase Whitney from Jasper Hill Farm's website.
These cheeses are only the three best in show--there are hundreds of exceptional cheeses that were awarded at the competition! Check out the full list here. Congratulations to all of the winners! 🥳