2 Michigan cheesemakers honored at 2023 World Cheese Awards in Norway

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Posted at 8:18 AM, Jan 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-04 08:18:18-05

Two Michigan cheesemakers have won awards at the 2023 World Cheese Awards held in Norway late last year.

The awards, hosted by the Guild of Fine Food, are the world's largest cheese-only competition and include more than 4,000 cheeses from 40 countries.

Leelanau Cheese Co., which is in Suttons Bay, won the Super Gold award. It's the highest-ranked award in the competition. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Leelanau Cheese Co. won the award for its Leelanau Raclette, a traditional herdsman's cheese, which is made with local milk.

The Leelanau Raclette was one of only 100 cheeses in the world to win the super gold. The cheesemaker also won for its Leelanau Reserve.

“As a cheesemaker, you are always looking for objective measures of quality,” Josh Hall, one of the managing partners for Leelanau Cheese Co., said. “It’s validating when the effort, time, and energy put into the product we love is also recognized internationally.”

“A big part of winning this award is recognizing that we have access to the best milk the USA has to offer,” Gary Smith, the other managing partner, added “Brinks Creamery, DeVor Dairy Farm and Creamery, and Norwood Centennial Farms are integral parts of our success at Leelanau Cheese Company. It’s impossible to make high quality cheese without high quality milk!”

Idyll Farms also won silver awards for three hand-crafted goat cheeses – Idyll Pastures, Idyll Pastures Fennel Pollen and Spreadable Idyll Pastures, as well as a bronze award for Idyll Pastures with Garlic and Herb.

Located in Northport, Idyll Farms is a 500-acre farmstead goat creamery that has won 35 American Cheese Society Awards and nine World Championship Cheese Awards since 2014.

“We are delighted to have won four more awards at this year’s World Cheese Awards for our fresh, Idyll Pastures line, said Amy Spitznagel, owner of Idyll Farms. “Throughout the decade of producing cheese, we have proven ourselves to be competitive on an international scale. We pride ourselves on making the healthiest and tastiest G.O.A.T. cheese while improving the planet by using regenerative farming practices.”

“The World Cheese Awards is like the Super Bowl Championship for cheesemakers around the globe. It is wonderful to see Michigan’s artisan cheesemakers receiving international recognition,” said Tim Boring, MDARD Director. “Michigan’s artisan cheesemakers focus on making small-batch cheeses with unique styles and flavor profiles, and the results speak for themselves. Congratulations to both companies for their success at the 2023 World Cheese Awards.”