Arts, Culture & Media

Geo answer

We feature some very big cheeses this time. Results from this year's international cheese competition in Madison, Wisconsin are in.

EmmentalerEmmentaler

In third place --- an Emmentaler with its perfect rind. In second place -- a nutty Gorgonzola that travelled all the way from Italy. And in first place....well ... we can tell you that it's a hard yellow cheese, made from cow's milk, and named after a town in Switzerland.

This medieval town is located in the central Swiss canton of Fribourg, on the Saane River. Its 13th century castle looks out on Mount Moleson.

Long ago the town's cheesemakers created this delicious cheese. Its flavor, texture and color earned it top honors at the world cheese championship.

It outscored nearly 2,000 entries from 20 countries. So name the cheese and you've named the town we're looking for in Switzerland.

So we were looking for a town in Switzerland. It's the namesake of a tasty cheese that's made there. The cheese in question is no ordinary cheese.

It just took top honors at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Wisconsin and Gruy�res, Switzerland is the answer to our Quiz.

....and the winner is...Gruy�re!....and the winner is...Gruy�re!

Brian Bull of Wisconsin Public Radio was on hand for the cheese contest in Madison:

Bull: The Gruy�re scored the Gold, setting itself apart from nearly 2,000 cheeses from 19 other countries. With a Gorgonzola from Italy nabbing the Silver Medal, and a rinded cheese from Switzerland taking the Bronze, the World Cheese Championship seems to bring out the best that every nation has to offer.

John Umhoefer: "This is like the Olympics."John Umhoefer: "This is like the Olympics."

Bull: John Umhoefer is executive director of the Wisconsin Cheesemaker's Association, which hosts the biennial event. He says just as one associates certain countries with certain sports in the Olympics, the same applies to nations and their cheeses.

Umhoefer: "For example, the Swiss are here with many giant Emmentaler wheels, and they have swept that class for many years. The Danes are here with their blue, and they have proudly taken most of the medals in the last few years. The Netherlands swept the Edam class, and the cheddars have gone all over the map."

Bull: The winning cheesemakers weren't present at the announcement. But one of the judges, Ernst Oettli, is a Swiss cheese distributor who knows the maker of the Gold-medal Gruy�re.

Oettli: "A full-flavored, fruity taste this cheese has. It's a cheese about 10 months old. Produced in April last year. We sell this cheese as we say we have 60 tons of them every year, it's not that much but...I'm absolutely happy that he's one of us.."

Bull: Sixty tons of Gruy�re isn't much? That claim has more holes than the Swiss Emmentaler that won the world cheese championship in 2006.

Judging a HavartiJudging a Havarti

This is the sound of three guys in lab coats preparing to cut that gold medal winner. They're lifting a 200-pound round of the Emmentaler. It's about the size of a tire. They're putting it on a wooden table, under what looks like a machete on hinges or huge tabletop paper cutter. Wait for it. Now two of them hold down the giant cheese round, the other guy puts his weight on the blade, and...

"Damn, we're getting good!"

�the big cheese is sliced prefectly in half. All in a day's work, for what proves to be a unique event. I mean, what other world competition judges the contestants not only on sharpness and strength, but also on age, veining, and odor?

For the World, I'm Brian Bull in Madison Wisconsin.