MADISON, WIS. – A cheese from Switzerland-based Gourmino and its renowned cheesemaker Michael Spycher took home the top overall honor once again at the World Championship Cheese Contest. However, in 2024, it was Hornbacher – and not the two-time defending champion gruyere – from Gourmino and Spycher that was deemed to be the top cheese at the competition.

Crafted by four-time champion cheesemaker Spycher, Hornbacher received the best score (98.98) among 3,302 entries at this year’s contest, hosted by Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA).

“For us, it's a huge success to win three times in a row with the same cheesemaker,” said Roland Sahli, Gourmino’s managing director. “We are really proud and also surprised.”

Dutch Cheese Makers’ Artikaas Vintage Lot 18, an aged gouda from Netherlands, was named first runner-up by the judges with a score of 98.92. Second runner-up went to Coatesville, Pa.-based The Farm at Doe Run and its Batch #17 (98.91).

Per WCMA, products from 25 countries and 32 US states were judged during this year’s World Championship Cheese Contest, which featured 142 classes.

When judges named award-winners on March 7 at Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center in Madison, Wis., 84 best of class finishes went to American cheesemakers, who received the most gold medals. WCMA said 39 first-place finishers were from Wisconsin dairy processors, while cheesemakers from California earned seven and Illinois companies received five.

Before announcing the champion for the international biennial competition, judges narrowed the expansive field to a list of 20 finalists. Those cheeses, along with the classes in which they competed, are listed below:

• Aged Cheddar Midget, Henning's Cheese, Kiel, Wis. (Class 7: traditional waxed cheddar, sharp to aged) – maker: Joshua Henning

• Flagship Reserve, Beecher's Handmade Cheese, Seattle (Class 8: natural rinded cheddar)

• Ziller Wheel, Guggisberg Cheese, Millersburg, Ohio (Class 12: baby Swiss style) – maker: Team DV

• Cello Artisan Copper Kettle Parmesan, Schuman Cheese, Turtle Lake, Wis. (Class 24: parmesan) – maker: Lake Country Dairy

• St. Clemens Aged Blue Flowers, Bornholms Andelsmejeri, Denmark (Class 36: open class - cheeses with blue molding) – maker: Team St. Clemens

• Artikaas Vintage Lot 18, Dutch Cheese Makers, Netherlands (Class 44: gouda, extra aged over 10 months)

• Henri Willig Smokey Gouda, Kaasmakerij Henri Willig BV, Netherlands (Class 46: gouda, smoked) – maker: Kaasmakerij Henri Willig

• Appenzeller Silver Label, SO Appenzeller Käse GmbH, Switzerland (Class 51: appenzeller, young) – maker: Marcel Gabriel

• L'Etivaz AOP, Caves de L'Etivaz, Switzerland (Class 53: open class - Alpine cheeses) – maker: François Raynaud

• Willoughby, Cellars at Jasper Hill, Greensboro, Vt. (Class 54: washed rind/smear ripened soft cheeses) – maker: Jasper Hill Creamery

• Heidi Farm Tilsit, Saputo Dairy Australia, Australia (Class 55: washed rind/smear ripened semi-soft (semi-hard) cheeses, young - less than 4 months) – maker: Bruce Turner

• Hornbacher Young, Gourmino AG, Switzerland (Class 56: washed rind/smear ripened semi-soft (semi-hard) cheeses, aged - over 4 months) – maker: Michael Spycher

• Oshamambe Raclette, Cheese Professional Association, Japan (Class 59: raclette) – maker: Akihito Kawase

• Goesser Bierkaese, Almenland Stollenkaese GmbH, Austria (Class 60: wine/spirits washed rind/smear ripened cheeses) – maker: Franz Moestl and team

• St. Malachi Reserve, The Farm at Doe Run, Coatesville, Pa. (Class 74: open class: hard cheeses with natural rind)

• Henri Willig Smokey Goat, Kaasmakerij Henri Willig BV, Netherlands (Class 99: hard goat's milk cheeses, flavored) – maker: Kaasmakerij Henri Willig

• Petit Agour, Agour, France (Class 104: hard sheep's milk cheeses, mature - less than 6 months)

• Arzberger Aurum, Almenland Stollenkaese GmbH, Austria (Class 108: washed rind/smear ripened sheep's milk cheeses) – maker: Franz Moestl and team

• Petit Agour with Truffle, Agour, France (Class 109: sheep's milk cheeses, flavored)

• Batch #17, The Farm at Doe Run, Coatesville, Pa. (Class 114: surface ripened mixed milk cheeses)

Complete results from the 2024 World Championship Cheese Contest are available online at the competition’s website.