Rogue River Blue, the beautiful grape-leaf wrapped blue cheese from Oregon's Rogue River Creamery, took top honors at this year's American Cheese Society competition, held last week in Austin, Texas. Rogue is actually one of the older creameries in the country, in operation since 1935. It also took home awards for its flavored cheddars, Chocolate Stout, and Lavender, as well as its Smokey Blue.
In second place was one of my favorite cheeses of all time: Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk, a triple-cream washed rind from California. I was also happy to see Vermont's Consider Bardwell Farm take third place overall with their Rupert. They are a new favorite of mine, having shown up this season at the small farmer's market in my little corner of Brooklyn. Rupert is an aged cow's milk cheese similar to Comté or Gruyère.
This year's competition was the biggest ever, with 1,327 entries. The cheeses were judged based on aesthetic criteria (taste, texture and aroma), and technical criteria (how well the cheese is made). The full list of winners is available here. Congratulations to Rogue River Creamery and the rest of the 2009 winners.
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