The American Cheese Society recognizes the finest cheeses and dairy products made in the Americas. A total of 1954 cheese and cultured dairy products were entered the competition. Cheeses made with 100% California cow’s milk had another strong showing this year in a field of 259 processors representing the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Columbia.
California cheesemakers won a total of 53 awards – the second largest showing in the competition – with Real California cow’s milk cheeses bringing home 32 prizes: 6 first-place, 11 second-place and 15 third-place awards in this year’s judging. Highlights from these wins include:
- Karoun Dairies, Inc., Turlock – four awards: 2nd for Para Freir with Jalapeño (Flavored Cheeses), and 3rd place each for Para Freir (Hispanic and Portuguese Style Cheeses), Whole Milk Kefir Drink (Cultured Milk and Cream Products) and Labneh (Cultured Milk and Cream Products).
- Marquez Brothers International, Inc., San Jose – four awards: 1st place each for Menonita (Hispanic and Portuguese Style Cheeses) and Fresa Drinkable Yogurt (Cultured Milk and Cream Products), 2nd place for Peach Drinkable Yogurt and 3rd place for Piña Colada Drinkable Yogurt (Flavored Cheeses, Yogurt and Cultured Products with Flavor Added).
- Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., Pt. Reyes – four awards: 2nd for Toma (American Originals), and 3rd each for California Coastal Blue (Blue Mold Cheeses), Fresh Mozzarella (Italian Type Cheeses) and The Fork Pimento Cheese (Flavored Cheeses).
- Marin French Cheese Company, Petaluma – three awards: 2nd each for Triple Crème Brie, Soft-Ripened Cheeses (Triple Crème) and Petite Breakfast, American Originals (American Originals Original Recipe/Open Category), and 3rd for Triple Crème Brie 1 lb., Soft-Ripened Cheeses (Triple Crème).
- Rumiano Cheese Company, Crescent City – three awards: 1st for Smoked Mozzarella rBST Free, Smoked Cheeses (Smoked Italian Styles), 2nd for Peppercorn Dry Jack rBST Free, American Originals (Dry Jack), and 3rd for Uncoated Dry Jack rBST Free, American Originals (Dry Jack).
- Oakdale Cheese & Specialties, Oakdale – two awards: 1st for Cumin Gouda, Flavored Cheeses (International-Style with Flavor Added) and 2nd for Mild Gouda, American Made/International Style (Dutch Style).
- Rizo-Lopez Foods Inc., Modesto – two awards: 2nd for RBCC Oaxaca, Hispanic & Portuguese Style Cheeses (Cooking Hispanic – Cheeses) and 3rd for Cotija, Ripened, Aged Over 90 Days.
- Belfiore Cheese Company, Berkeley: 2nd place for Feta Cheese in Brine, Feta Cheeses.
- Bellwether Farms*, Petaluma: 3rd for Crème Fraîche, Cultured Milk and Cream Products (Crème Fraîche and Sour Cream Products).
- Central Coast Creamery*, Paso Robles: 1st for Bishops Peak, American Originals/Original Recipe (American Originals Original Recipe/Open Category).
- Fagundes Old-World Cheese, Hanford: 3rd for Hanford Jack, American Originals (Monterey Jack – Made from Cow’s Milk).
- Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, Nicasio: 3rd for Foggy Morning with Garlic and Basil, Flavored Cheeses (Farmstead Cheeses with Flavor Added).
- Peluso Cheese Company, Los Banos: 2nd for Teleme Cheese, American Original (Teleme – Made from Cow’s Milk).
- Sierra Nevada Cheese Company*, Willows: 1st for Cultured Classics Creme (Labne) Kefir, Cultured Milk and Cream Products (Labneh, Greek Style Yogurt, and other Strained Cultured Products).
* Bellwether Farms, Central Coast Creamery and Sierra Nevada Cheese Company also received awards for non-cow’s milk cheeses that do not carry the Real California Milk seal.