Quite a mouthful: Mexican graduate student joins UW-Madison cheese judges at world championships

Judging the world’s best cheeses is essentially a search for defects, says Luis Alejandro Jiménez-Maroto, after a day of judging burrata, flavored pasteurized process cheese and aged Latin American hard cheeses at Monona Terrace in Madison.

The event is the biennial World Championship Cheese Contest, which cycles between Madison and Green Bay. This year, 3,402 entries came from 27 nations and 32 states to the event that runs March 6-8.

UW–Madison alumnus Mike Matucheski and his team from Plymouth-based Sartori Company were finalists in the championship. Two Sartori cheeses — Pastorale Blend and Reserve Espresso — made the top 20. A sheep’s milk hard cheese from France was named best in show. This year, 3,402 entries came from 27 nations and 32 states. At last year’s championships, Matucheski’s Sartori Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano was named the nation’s top cheese.

Judging at the contest, sponsored by the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association, is divided into 104 cheeses, such as “natural rinded cheddar,” “parmesan,” “blue-veined cheeses,” and 17 butters and yogurts.

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