COLUMBUS, OHIO – The American Dairy Association Mideast, coordinator of the Ohio State Fair Cheese Contest, announced that Pearl Valley Cheese received the title of grand champion for 2023.

The Fresno, Ohio, cheesemaker’s Swiss cheese helped Pearl Valley stand out at the statewide competition, in which products from Pearl Valley took first place in three classes and second place in three classes.

Urban Stead Cheese, Cincinnati, took the reserve champion award, led by its first-place aged cheddar.

Contest organizers said participation reached an all-time high with 63 entries contending for the awards.

First-place winners from the competition’s various classes were:

• Pearl Valley Cheese, Fresno, Ohio (Swiss)

• Guggisberg Cheese, Millersburg, Ohio - Ziller (other Swiss)

• Bunker Hill Cheese, Millersburg, Ohio (young cheddar)

• Urban Stead Cheese, Cincinnati (aged cheddar)

• Marchant Manor Cheese, Cleveland - Camembert Peppercorn (surface mold bloomy)

• Marchant Manor Cheese - Apple Jack Washed (bacteria ripened)

• Rowdy Cow Creamery, Burton, Ohio - Fromage Blanc (fresh, spreadable and curd)

• Pearl Valley Cheese - Colby (open - cow's milk)

• Pearl Valley Cheese - Jalapeno, Ghost & Habanero Pepper Blend (open - spicy)

• Marchant Manor Cheese - Sussex Ash Rine (open - other)

The competition was judged by Bill Rufenacht of Dairy Connection, Aileen Kacvinsky of Schuman Cheese, Brian Schlatter of Fromagex, restaurateur John Quagliata, and Jenny Crabtree of ADA Mideast.