Hidden Springs Creamery earned a record six ribbons at the 2013 American Cheese Society Competition in Madison last week, marking a major milestone for the farmstead creamery in southwest Wisconsin.
Celebrating only her seventh year as a sheep's milk cheesemaker, owner Brenda Jensen captured ribbons for six of the seven styles of cheeses she entered into the prestigious competition. Jensen has now earned more than 50 ribbons for her unique farmstead cheeses.
"To have my cheeses earn awards in the same realm as some of the nation's greatest cheeses and cheesemakers is truly an honor," Jensen said. "I look forward to continuing to contribute to Wisconsin's artisan cheesemaking community."
Hidden Springs cheeses earning honors included Ocooch Mountain, which earned second place in the open category for washed rind cheeses made from sheep or mixed milk. Aged six months, it is a nutty, raw-milk sheep's milk cheese made in a 3-pound wheel. Jensen describes it as a "sheep's milk salute to aged Parmesan." Ocooch Mountain Reserve, aged one year, also earned a second place, this time in the category for sheep's milk cheese aged over 60 days.
Timber Coulee Reserve, Jensen's version of a French Ossau-Iraty, tied for second place in the aged sheep's milk category. Earning third in the open category for washed rind cheeses was Meadow Melody, a mixed milk cheese combining cow and sheep's milk to create a creamy, 3-month tomme.
Rounding out the third-place ribbons were Jensen's Farmstead Feta, a sheep's milk feta aged for one year, and Driftless Natural, a fresh sheep's milk cheese. Driftless cheeses are also available in a wide range of flavors, including cranberry cinnamon, fresh basil, lavender and honey, tomato and garlic, pumpkin and spice and maple syrup.
The 2013 ACS Judging & Competition was record setting, with the largest number of entries in ACS history: 257 companies entered 1,794 different products. Entering companies represented 34 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces, along with Mexico and Colombia. For a printable list of this year's winners, visit www.cheesesociety.org.To learn more about Hidden Springs Creamery farmstead cheeses, contact Jensen at 608-606-3840 or email [email protected] .