American Cheese Society Announces 2019 Judging & Competition Winning Cheeses

“Stockinghall” By Murray’s Cheese Awarded “Best of Show”

“Stockinghall,” from Murray’s Cheese in New York, was named “Best of Show” among 1,742 entries at the American Cheese Society’s (ACS) 2019 Judging & Competition. The results were announced tonight at the 36th Annual ACS Conference: Virginia Is For Cheese Lovers™, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, Richmond, Virginia. Second place “Best of Show” went to “Professor’s Brie” from Wegmans Food Markets in New York. Third place “Best of Show” was awarded to “Aries” from Shooting Star Creamery in California.

This year’s “Best of Show” cheeses indicate that the traditional European practice of producers working in collaboration with “affineurs” is growing in the U.S. Affinage is the practice of aging cheese in caves carefully regulated in temperature and humidity. Both the first and second place “Best of Show” cheeses were created through such partnerships between cheesemakers—in this case, Old Chatham Creamery—and affineurs, in this case both retailers. First place winner “Stockinghall” was produced by Old Chatham Creamery then handed over to Murray’s Cheese to age in their Long Island City caves, while “Professor’s Brie,” also made by Old Chatham Creamery, was aged in Wegmans Food Markets’ caves in Rochester, New York.

“We worked with Old Chatham Creamery for several years to make ‘Stockinghall,’ which is their only cheddar,” said Josh Windsor, affineur for Murray’s Cheese. “Aged cheddars are finicky and hard to produce—this cheese was truly a labor of love.”

“It has been a wonderful experience to work with our team to create our cheese caves in Rochester and work with cheesemakers on unique cheeses for Wegmans,” said Cathy Gaffney, vice president at Wegmans Food Markets and ACS board president. “’Professor’s Brie’ was named in honor of Dave Galton, owner of Old Chatham, and my former professor at Cornell University. This award is proof that this model of production can create phenomenal American artisan cheese.”
“We’re so proud of the Old Chatham team and our partners,” said David Galton, owner of Old Chatham Creamery, “We strive to make cheeses that meet the high standards of our partners, who are truly the best creameries in the American artisan cheese industry.”

Growing from just 89 entries 35 years ago, the ACS Judging & Competition this year welcomed cheeses and cultured dairy products from 257 companies. Competing entries represented 35 U.S. states, 4 Canadian provinces, Mexico and Brazil. ACS awarded a total of 433 awards including 139 gold medals, 143 silver medals and 151 bronze medals.
“It’s an exciting year for American cheese,” said Nora Weiser, ACS executive director, “We have new producers, new production models and fresh new faces that are pushing the envelope and expanding creativity and collaboration within American artisan cheese.”

Third place winner “Aries” was created by cheese industry newcomer Avery Jones. Only 15 years old, Jones proves that exceptional cheeses aren’t only produced by established cheesemakers. The daughter of Reggie Jones of Central Coast Creamery in Paso Robles, California, she is part of a new generation driving excellence and innovation in the American artisan cheese industry.

“Watching Avery become the cheesemaker she is today has been amazing,” said Lindsey Mendes, production manager of Central Coast Creamery. “Cheesemaking takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and it’s heartening to see that the younger generation is so passionate about the industry. This win couldn’t have happened without the entire Central Coast Creamery team.”

 

 

For a list of this year’s winners and judges, visit https://www.cheesesociety.org/competition-winners. The 2019 ACS Judging & Competition Media Kit breaks down awards by product, dairy location and milk source, as well as producers’ contact information. The 37th Annual ACS Conference & Competition will take place on July 22 – July 25, 2020, in Portland, Oregon.

ACS is the leading organization supporting the understanding, appreciation, and promotion of artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheeses produced in the Americas. At 2,400 members strong, ACS provides advocacy, education, business development, and networking opportunities for cheesemakers, retailers, enthusiasts, and extended industry. ACS strives to continually raise the quality and availability of cheese in the Americas. ACS’s certification programs, including the ACS CCP® Exam and the ACS T.A.S.T.E. Test™, encourage improved standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service in the cheese industry. Learn more: www.cheesesociety.org.

 

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