A Blue Cheese from Oregon Has Been Dubbed the Best Cheese in the World
This month, for the 32nd year in a row, the Guild of Fine Foods chose a single winner as their “World’s Best Cheese.” But for the first time in over three decades of the competition, the winner was an American cheese. In the competition, with the winner named last week in Italy, Oregon’s Rogue River Blue rose to the top among 3,804 entries from 42 different countries.
The Rogue River Blue comes from the Rogue Creamery in southern Oregon, where it’s made only with autumn milk from their organic herd of Brown Swiss and Holstein cows to achieve its specific flavor. The cheese ages for nine to 11 months in caves, then is hand-wrapped in pear-liqueur-soaked Syrah grape leaves. One of the judges described it as a “taste party,” lauding its “different sensations, balance, sweet and spicy notes.”
At the event in Italy, the 260 experts judged all of the cheese on their appearance, texture, aroma, and flavor. And while the Rogue River Blue came out on top, second place went to a 24-month-aged Nazionale del Parmigiano Reggiano Latteria Sociale Santo Stefano in what was apparently “one of the most dramatic finales in World Cheese history,” according to the organizers. Tied after the main event, the chairman of the judging panel had to make the final decision. Third place went to a Spanish raw ewe’s milk called Torta del Casar D.O.P. Virgen Del Prado.
One of the most exciting parts about Rogue’s cheese winning this award is that it’s a fairly large company with good distribution, meaning that anyone who wants to have a bite of the World’s Best Cheese can probably do so. While it’s available directly on Rogue’s website for $75 per quarter wheel or $235 for a whole one (plus $17 shipping), it’s also available all over the country, sometimes in Whole Foods. Their website doesn’t list individual stores, but a distributor list covers coast to coast and includes Murray’s.