Emmi Roth president hopes ‘lightening strikes again’ at world cheese championship

2016 winner predicts fierce competition from U.S.
Emmi Roth president hopes ‘lightening strikes again’ at world cheese championship
The president of Emmi Roth kisses the Grand Cru® Surchoix which was named World Champion in 2016.

The 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest will bring cheese makers and enthusiasts from around the world to Madison for three cheesy days starting Tuesday, March 6. Wisconsin cheese maker Emmi Roth took home the grand prize for its Grand Cru Surchoix during the last contest, making it the first time an American cheese maker took home the award in 28 years.

“I think there’s more great cheese makers in the U.S. today than there were ever before,” says Emmi Roth President Tim Omer.

Looking ahead to this week’s competition, Omer says he knows European cheese makers want to take back the title this week, but that there is “great momentum in [the U.S.] as far as cheese making goes.” This momentum is especially strong in Wisconsin. The state secured the first “grand slam” last year because cheese makers from Wisconsin took home grand prizes at the 2017 U.S. Cheese Championship, 2016 American Cheese Society Competition and 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest.

Omer says Emmi Roth doesn’t focus its attention on winning contests, but instead aims to “make great cheese everyday.” Emmi Roth’s 2016 victory caused a massive surge in demand for its Grand Cru Surchoix. This year, Omer says he particularly loves the Roth’s Private Reserve, so he is hopeful that it will perform well.

“I’ve been involved in these contests for over 30 years and it’s just amazing how much more attention and how much more meaning these contests have today than they did even two years ago,” Omer says. “We are hopeful, but we know the competition is really fierce … Hopefully lightening strikes again.”

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board echoes Omer’s prediction regarding the ferocity of the competition in a statement. There are more than 3,400 entries this year, the most ever, competing in more than 120 categories.

You can check out the competition for free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 6 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 7 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. You can purchase a ticket for $25 for the Cheese Champion event which will take place from 6:30-9 p.m. on March 8. The event will include a tasting of more than 50 cheeses, craft beer and specialty foods. Click here for more info.