An organic blue cheese produced by US cheesemaker, Rogue Creamery has been named World Champion Cheese 2019 in Bergamo, Italy. Rogue River Blue now becomes the World Cheese Awards’ first ever American champion, rising to the top among a record-breaking 3,804 entries from 42 different countries.
Made annually with organic cow’s milk from Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, Rogue River Blue is cave-aged for nine to 11 months and hand-wrapped in organic Syrah grape leaves that have been soaked in pear liqueur. The cheese was championed on the International Super Jury by Brazilian judge, Bruno Cabral, who described Rogue River Blue as a “taste party”, applauding its “different sensations, balance, sweet and spicy notes”.
At the end of the final judging stage, this unique blue cheese was level with a 24-month aged Nazionale del Parmigiano Reggiano Latteria Sociale Santo Stefano on 100 points, leaving it to the Chairman of the Judging Panel, food broadcaster Nigel Barden, to give the casting vote. In third place with 92 points was a raw ewe’s milk cheese from Spain, Torta del Casar D.O.P. Virgen Del Prado made by Queseria Doña Francisca S.L..
Taking place in Italy for the first time in its 32 year history, the largest cheese-only competition on the planet was hosted by Bergamo’s annual FORME cheese festival and a new dairy trade show, B2Cheese. The international cheese community gathered at Fiera di Bergamo to judge entries from every corner of the globe, culminating in a final 16 which featured cheeses from the USA, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland, France and the UK.
More nations than ever before were represented at this year’s World Cheese Awards, as cheesemakers from six continents sent their entries by boat, truck, train and plane. Cheese from the likes of Australia, Chile, Russia, South Africa and the USA made its way via 13 consolidation points across the globe, while Japanese cheesemakers also made their debut at the competition, following Japan being added to the list of countries permitted to export dairy products to the EU earlier this year.