The typical Wisconsin cheesemaker is still the third or fourth-generation male owner of a large cheese factory like Carr Valley’s Sid Cook or Cedar Grove’s Bob Wills. But the typical winning artisanal cheesemaker in the state is looking more and more female. For the second year in a row, a female artisanal cheesemaker from Wisconsin has taken the top prize at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in Green Bay. Marieke Penterman of Holland’s Family Cheese in Thorp, Wisconsin took top honors for her Marieke aged gouda. The team of 38 judges gave her 98.31 points out of a possible 100. Penterman, who emigrated from the Netherlands a decade ago, has only been making cheese for six years. Her win follows up last year’s win by Katie Hedrich, maker of LaClare Farms Evalon goat cheese in Chilton, Wisconsin. If you want to try Marieke gouda, Holland’s Family Cheese products are sold at Pastoral, Provenance, and Whole Foods, among others, and by mail order from Zingerman’s.
Photo: courtesy Holland’s Family Cheese