Campus News

Legen-dairy Badgers make their mark on World Championship Cheese Contest

UW-Madison students past and present participated in the World Cheese Championship last week as both competitors and judges.

Image By: Nick Monfeli and Nick Monfeli

Students and alumni of UW-Madison are considered the “big cheese” for reasons more literal than you might think.

Last week, Madison hosted the 32nd Biennial World Championship Cheese Contest, the largest technical cheese, butter and yogurt competition in the world.

This year, the competition included 3,400 entries from 26 countries. Despite the diverse competition, the dairy state lived up to its reputation, with Wisconsin cheesemakers earning 47 of the 121 gold medals.

Past and current Badgers made their own mark on the competition. Luis Alejandro Jiménez-Maroto, a graduate student studying food science, was one of six judges, among 47 judges total, from UW-Madison’s Center for Dairy Research.

“The major reason I came to Wisconsin is because Wisconsin has everything related to dairy in a single place: milk production, cheesemakers, cheese processors, and a university that does top-flight research to enhance innovation and progress in the dairy industry,” Jiménez-Maroto said in a release.

A sheep’s milk hard cheese from France earned first place in the contest. But Mike Matucheski, another Wisconsin alumnus, made it to the finals. He and his team, Sartori Cheeses, earned a top 20 spot for their Pastorale Blend and Reserve Espresso cheese.

“My upbringing, my experience at UW-Madison, taught me that you can’t let luck rule your world,” Matucheski said. “Luck doesn’t get you where you need to be. Creativity does. Passion does. Opportunity does.”

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