Cheese serves as an important ingredient in almost every sandwiches. Some might not know that cheese makers do devout their time in making their cheeses to be the best cheese in the world.
Whenever we use cheese in our sandwich recipes using Cuisinart Griddler, our food gets even more interesting to talk about, especially if someone asked what cheese we use and who made it. No wonder why cheese is praise by experts and even adored by everyone.
I was recently happened to be in a free cheese taste sampling and that gave me an opportunity to learned something about cheeses as well as cheese competition. I give credit to La Fromagerie Alexies de Portneuf for this topic. (By the way, their cheeses are really, really good!) To know more about their cheeses, check it HERE.
You know for the decade or so, cheese competitions –regional, national and international have been springing up around the world. Every competition has its own rules depending on the number of cheeses entered. According to Louis Aird, the Canadian Ambassador of the International Guilde des Fromagers, the three notable competitions that has 1000 cheese entries are:
- The American Cheese Society – Annual competition held in August with some 1800 North American cheeses entered.
- The World Championship Cheese Contest – Takes place every March in Madison, Wisconsin with 1700 cheeses from all over the world competing for prizes.
- The World Cheese Awards- presented every November in Birmingham, England with 2400 cheeses from all the continents.
How these prestigious competitions happen…
The cheese makers are invited around the globe to enter their cheeses in various categories, organized by class of cheese – soft, semi-hard, hard (natural or flavored). Also by the kind of milk use: cows’ milk, goats’ milk, ewes’ milk and buffalo milk. The entries may be made from the milk of one or multiple animals.
During the early morning of competition event, hundred of entries were processed by volunteers, starting by removing the cheeses from their packaging and identified it just by number then place it in long tables. At 9:00 am, the 70 judges enter the tasting room, divided into groups with 4 judges assigned to each table, care is really taken that none of the cheeses on a particular table is made by the company with which any of the judges might be associated.
Evaluation forms are distributed and every group decides who will be the table leader. Volunteers go around while giving water, crackers and slices of apple to help cleanse the palate in between tasting.
“The judges don’t bite the apple here; they just suck the juices, which is effective. Like in wine tasting, the judges rarely swallow what they are judging; instead they just spit the samples after chewing them, as recommended.” – Louis Aird
So once the tables are prepared, the judges start to designate gold, silver and bronze medal winners at the table.
How do they judge the cheese entries aside from tasting…
They begin it with visual evaluation, checking the rind for cracks, some discoloration or any sign of damage. Next, they use their noses. The cheese should present a perfect balance of aromas. There should be no odors not normally associated with the cheese. Finally, they then slowly taste it, slowly enough in order for the judges to identify its essential flavor. Then scoring begins.
When all the cheeses have been judged, the team reviews all the gold medal winners and select one Super Gold cheese at their table.
At this point, only 12 senior judges remain to select the cheese they believe that is the best among the Super Gold. At 3:00pm, judges gather in front of the television cameras defending their choice and have the other sample the winner. When all the points have been calculated, the one with the highest score is awarded “Best Cheese in the World”.
So there you go, that’s why cheese makers try to maintain their highest quality and standards. Now, every time you try to taste it, you know when a cheese is really perfect, as soon as you put it in your mouth, a feeling of joy and unexplainable feeling is perfectly right there too.