(WFRV) – Nationally known for producing some of the world’s best cheeses and dairy products, Wisconsin will have another opportunity to defend its cheesy title during the upcoming 34th biennial World Championship Cheese Contest.

From March 1st to the 3rd, more than 50 international experts, including cheese graders, cheese buyers, dairy science professors, and researchers, will gather at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison to evaluate 2,919 dairy product entries and name the 2022 World Champion.

The contest, which is hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, is a highly prestigious and technical competition that invites the best cheese, dairy, and butter-makers from around the globe to submit their products for the chance of being named the best in the world.

“Entry into this world-renowned competition isn’t just about being recognized by the global dairy industry – it’s also a chance for a major business boost,” stated Kirsten Strohmenger, Events Manager for the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

Applications for the contest were due by Jan. 26, 2022. Contest officials confirmed dairy processors from 28 countries around the world, including Italy and Switzerland, and 31 U.S. States are participating in the competition this year. Of those participants, 22 businesses are from northeast Wisconsin.

The items that will be judged during the competition are currently being checked in at WOW Logistics’ warehouse in Little Chute before making their way to Madison for the judges to view and taste.

Experts will be judging in the following four categories: cheese, butter product, yogurt, and dry dairy ingredient. The judging will be split up into three rounds.

First Round

During the first round of judging, the contestants will begin with 100 points. The judges will then make deductions for various defects found by each judge. Experts will be evaluating the products in the following areas:

  • Flavor
  • Body
  • Texture
  • Salt
  • Color
  • Finish,
  • Packaging

A Gold medal, Silver medal, and Bronze medal are awarded to the three highest-scoring entries in each category.

Second Round

After the first round of judging ends, the judges will evaluate the gold medal cheeses a second time in order to determine the 20 finalist cheeses that will move onto the final round of judging.

Final Round

During the final round, scores from all of the judges are averaged and the cheese which earns the highest average score is named the World Champion. The next two highest scores are awarded First and Second Runner-Up. These individuals will all receive exclusive hand-crafted trophies and ribbons.

Viewers can watch live online as the World Champion Cheese is announced on Thursday, March 3 at 2 p.m.

In the 65 years the contest has been around, Wisconsin has been home to 11 of the 34 World Champions. Wisconsin hasn’t had a World Champion since 2016.

For more information surrounding the upcoming global competition, click here.