Whitehall Specialties earned third place with its White Cheddar Ranch entry in the “Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread” category at the 2017 United States Champion Cheese Contest – its highest placing ever in the competition.
The White Cheddar Ranch received 98.90 out of 100 possible points. The company was also awarded 6th place for its Cheddar Horseradish entry in the same category. In addition, Whitehall received Top 10 honors with both its Asiago entry in the “Pasteurized Process Cheese” category and its Chipotle Cheddar in the “Flavored Pasteurized Process Cheese” category.
“This is a major win for the entire Whitehall team. Sharp cheddars typically finish very high in the state competition, so that makes third place so special,” Steven Lutzke, Technical Sales Manager at Whitehall Specialties, said.
Lutzke added that there were a record number of overall entries in the competition with more than 2300 entries judged in over 100 classes. There is a very fine line between winners and losers, Lutzke explained.
“You look at a flavored hard cheese taking first place with a 99.018 score and the runner up aged cheddar with 98.813. Obviously, the results can be very close,” he said. “It is mostly about taste, but appearance and even packaging can play a role in the score. Rounded corners, wrinkled packaging and poor coloring can all lead to deductions.”
The company is excited about its finish in an important contest.
“We believe in the merits of this competition which allows us to demonstrate our capabilities and creativity,” Lutzke said. “We are going up against the best cheese makers in the U.S., many of whom have been entering this contest for over 25 years. Finishing with third place in only our 3rd year of entering is a source of pride for everyone here at Whitehall.”