Tarentaise Reserve Named Best of Show
Tarentaise Reserve from Spring Brook Farm Cheese/Farms for City Kids Foundation in Vermont was named Best of Show among 2,024 entries at the American Cheese Society (ACS) 2017 Judging & Competition in Denver.
The results were announced July 28 at the 34th Annual ACS Conference: Cheese with Altitude.
Second place Best of Show went to St Malachi, a pasteurized, washed-curd and washed-rind Alpine-style cow’s milk cheese, from The Farm at Doe Run in Pennsylvania.
Third place Best of Show was awarded to Harbison, a spreadable bloomy-rind cheese wrapped in cambium, or spruce bark, from Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont.
Good Cheese, Good Deeds
Tarentaise Reserve is the aged version of Tarentaise, a semi-hard washed rind cow’s milk cheese named after the French Valley which inspired it. While Spring Brook Farm/Farms for City Kids Foundation does buy milk from two nearby partner farms, the winning cheese is a farmstead cheese that was aged 11-13 months, explained Jeremy Stephenson, cheese program director.
.It’s the second time Tarentaise Reserve has received the specialty cheese industry’s top honor. In 2014, it took home Best of Show.
To date, 12,000 kids, mostly 5th and 6th graders from Boston and New York, have gone through Farms for City Kids Foundation’s educational program that teaches children academics integrated into everyday farm activities that practice and teach sustainability, Stephenson explained.
“We wouldn’t have won this Best of Show award tonight without everyone on our team, from the dairy farms and cheesemakers, to our affineurs and the artisan cheese community,” said Stephenson. “How much more honored could we possibly be?”
All three Best in Show cheeses are farmstead cheeses, pointed out Mateo Kehler, with the Cellars at Jasper Hill, at a press conference. “It’s amazing. That’s possibly what I’m most excited about this year," he said. "The awards actually reflect a level of quality that is nearly impossible to obtain if you’re not connected to the farming system where you are producing the raw material.”
This year’s American Cheese Society (ACS) Judging & Competition broke all records for the professionally judged contest with 2,024 entries of cheeses and cultured dairy products from 281 companies, a 10 percent growth over the prior year. Competing companies represented 36 U.S. states, four Canadian provinces, Mexico and Colombia. ACS awarded a total of 410 ribbons: 111 first-place ribbons, 142 second-place ribbons and 157 third-place ribbons. A full list of this year’s winners is available at www.cheesejudging.org.
“Artisan cheese is clearly on a growth curve in both quality and diversity … It is a testament to the creativity and vitality of artisan cheesemakers,” said Nora Weiser, ACS executive director.
Limited quantities of all three Best of Show cheeses are available wholesale, TGR confirmed.