A cheese made by students in a special program designed to familiarize young people with farming was the best-of-show winner at the annual judging of the American Cheese Society, the Oscars of the dairy world, held in Sacramento last week.
Tarentaise Reserve, made at Spring Brook Farm in Vermont by students participating in the Farms for City Kids Foundation took top honors, nudging aside the longtime great Point Reyes Bay Blue.
According to its mission statement, Farms for City Kids Farms “provides a stimulating outdoor classroom where urban youth explore new dimensions of learning as academics are integrated into everyday farm activities that practice and teach sustainability.”
Apparently, they also make some pretty good cheese. Tarentaise is a semi-hard washed-rind cheese made from cow's milk, fashioned in the tradition of cheese makers in the French Alps.
All told, almost 250 dairies submitted almost 1,700 products to be judged in the competition.
Second place in the best-of-show category went to California’s Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. for its ever-popular Point Reyes Bay Blue, a cow's milk cheese similar to the British Stilton.
Third place was shared by an aged Gouda-style cheese from Oakdale Cheese & Specialties in Oakdale, Calif., northeast of Modesto, and Eden, a cheese from New York’s Sprout Creek Farm.
Other category winners from California include Cypress Grove Chevre’s Bermuda Triangle in the soft-ripened goat’s milk cheese division and Truffle Tremor in the soft-ripened with flavor-added division.
Bleating Heart Cheese in Tomales, Calif., also won two categories. Fat Bottom Girl won the American originals from sheep’s milk and Ewelicious Blue won the blue-veined sheep’s category.
Rumiano Cheese Co. won Dry Jack, Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese and Milk Fromage Blanc won the fresh unripened cheese with flavor added, Karoun Dairies’ Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spread won the flavor-added yogurt, and Garden Variety Cheese won the plain yogurt.