In what would be the global Olympics of cheese, the U.S. has won the gold, something it has never done before. Out of 3,804 cheese entries from 42 countries, Rogue Creamery of Central Point, Ore., has won the World Cheese Awards with its Rogue River Blue.
Made annually with organic cow’s milk, Rogue River Blue is cave aged for 9-11 months and is hand wrapped in organic Syrah grape leaves that have been soaked in pear liqueur. The cheese was championed on the International Super Jury by Brazilian judge Bruno Cabral, who described Rogue River Blue as a “taste party” and applauded its “different sensations, balance, sweet and spicy notes.”
“This year’s top prize was almost too close to call, and I would like to congratulate both Rogue Creamery and Nazionale del Parmigiano Reggiano Latteria Sociale Santo Stefano for going the distance and providing us with one of the most dramatic finales in World Cheese history,” said John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, which organizes the World Cheese Awards. “These two wonderfully different cheeses say so much about the quality and diversity of cheese-making today -- one bold and groundbreaking, the other steeped in tradition, but both hitting all the high notes with our judges.”
He continued, “Rogue Creamery has been at the forefront of the U.S. artisan cheese revolution for some years, so it seems very fitting for them to be the first American winners of our World Champion Cheese trophy.”
David Gremmels, owner of Rogue Creamery, said, “I am humbled and filled with gratitude. It has been nearly 16 years since Rogue River Blue was recognized at the World Cheese Awards in 2003. As a result, I worked with regulators, legislators and side by side with the USA Cheese Guild creating the first raw milk cheese health certificate, and now Rogue River Blue is among other American cheeses like Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Harbison that can be found in fine cheese shops and restaurants in Europe, Australia, Japan and around the globe.”