BELMONT — It has been an award-winning year for Montchevré–Betin.
Montchevré’s blueberry vanilla goat cheese got the highest score, 99.85 out of a possible 100 points, at the Wisconsin State Fair cheese and butter contest June 26.
Six weeks later, Montchevré co-founder and cheesemaker Jean Rossard was named grand master cheesemaker of the year at the State Fair in West Allis.
Montchevré’s State Fair awards included a first-place award for 8-ounce blueberry vanilla in the goat cheese category, second place for goat Brie, and third place for Fromage Blanc fresh white cheese in the natural goat cheese class.
Montchevré’s blueberry vanilla goat cheese was purchased at the State Fair Blue Ribbon Butter and Cheese Auction by Cheese Market News of Middleton for $1,850 — $185 per pound. Proceeds from the auction of first-place butters and cheeses raised almost $28,000 for scholarships, youth dairy awards and programming.
“This award was a big surprise as my wife and I were just back from our vacation in France and I wasn’t aware that we had won the best of show,” said Rossard, who credited his grand master award to “all the employees at Montchevre for their hard work they are putting in through the year starting at the farm through the plant to the customers.”
Rossard told The Country Today that he “was looking at someone else and heard my name, so it was a shock. It was a good surprise.”
The State Fair awards followed seven awards, including two Best of Class awards, at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in Milwaukee in mid-March.
Bryan Adams received one Best of Class award for flavored soft goat’s milk cheeses with sweet condiments for honey goat cheese, while Scott Rood got the other in the semi-soft goat’s milk cheeses category for crumbled fresh and natural goat cheese.
Second awards went to Camy Berntgen in the flavored soft goat’s milk cheeses category for Peppadew cheese; Estella Galeas in the semi-soft goat’s milk cheese category for Crumbled Plain Tray cheese, and Mary Kay VonGlahn in the flavored semi-soft goat’s milk cheese category for Pomegranate & Orange Zest cheese.
Third awards went to Tim Pennekamp in the surface (mold) ripened goat’s milk cheese category for Mini Cabrie cheese, and Dennis Cardy in the category of flavored soft goat’s milk cheeses with sweet condiments for Rondin Honey cheese.
Just before the State Fair, Montchevré won two first-place awards at the American Cheese Society competition in Providence, R.I., in late July. Montchevré won for Fromage Blanc in the fresh unripened goat’s milk cheese category, and for Chèvre in Blue in the rindless blue-veined goat’s milk cheese category.
Montchevré processes about 300,000 pounds of goat milk a day in its Belmont plant. The company moved in 1995 from Preston, where it was founded in 1989.