The dairy industry’s own March Madness, the 2012 World Champion- ship Cheese Contest, will tip-off March 5 in Madison, with a record 2,503 entries.
An international panel of 40 expert cheese judges will gather for three days, March 5-7, to carefully sniff, taste and examine more than 50,000 pounds of cheeses and butters entered in the biggest dairy competition ever held.
The public is invited to the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison to watch the persnickety art of cheese judging.
“The World Championship Cheese Contest is a unique opportunity to view thousands of cheeses made in hundreds of styles from all over the world,” says John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. “This year, an exclusive public event will feature the contest judges choosing the 2012 World Champion Cheese.”
The Contest is open between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on March 5 and March 6 in the Exhibit Hall of the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison. First round judging will be completed March 7 from 9 a.m. to noon.
On Wednesday evening, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and Wisconsin Cheese Originals will host a gala, ticketed event in the Ballroom at Monona Terrace. The entire panel of Contest judges will evaluate the “Sweet Sixteen” - the top 16 gold medal cheeses in the competition while attendees enjoy a wide array of international cheeses selected from dozens of contest categories.
This event, “A Evening at the World Championship Cheese Contest,” begins at 6:30 p.m. on March 7. Judges will taste the 16 finalists and announce a best-of-show, World Champion Cheese during the reception. Tickets are $25 for this evening reception and may be purchased at www.cheesecontest.com.
Entrants in 2012 have sent a record 2,503 cheeses from 24 nations and 30 states.
The international judging panel hails from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, joining 20 judges from 13 states in the U.S.
Visit www.worldchampioncheese.org for contest results, images and video.