Expert judges at the 2016 American Cheese Society Contest awarded BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella with a first place, Best in Class Blue Ribbon at a blind judging in Des Moines, Iowa last week. Touted as the yearly “Cheese Oscars,” the contest drew a total of 1,843 entries, with the highly coveted awards handed out to a packed room of artisan cheesemakers.

“This recognition from the ACS is greatly appreciated and our Cheesemakers will use this award as a reminder to keep their teams focused on quality,” states Gaetano Auricchio, vice president. “We are the leader in the Fresh Mozzarella category and work diligently to deliver a consistently fresh and delicious cheese for our customers.”

Industry experts and consumers alike agree that BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella is “America’s Favorite.” Along with the First Place award, BelGioioso also received a 2nd place ribbon for Burrata in the Burrata category.

“The fresh, local Wisconsin milk we use is key to our quality,” states Sean Moran, vice president of sales. “Our Fresh Mozzarella and Burrata have a delicate, clean flavor and soft, milky texture, the finest available in the market. Along with quality, we also offer options, from 1 oz. Snacking cheeses to 1-pound pre-sliced Logs and 2 oz., 4 oz. and 8 oz. Burrata. Chefs and consumers both enjoy the variety and convenience of BelGioioso.”

BelGioioso Cheesemakers were recognized with a total of four awards in the contest.

• 1st Place Best of Class – Fresh Mozzarella – Fresh Mozzarella Category – Cheesemaker Byron Hall - This soft cheese has a delicate, milky flavor and is perfect in fresh salads, sandwiches and on pizzas.

• 2nd Place – Burrata – Burrata Category – Cheesemaker Jason Radke - This ball of fresh mozzarella is filled with shreds of mozzarella soaked in cream. Its delicate texture and flavor is best enjoyed fresh on bread as an appetizer.

• 3rd Place – Mascarpone– Mascarpone Category – Cheesemaker Bill Codr - This fresh, soft cheese has a sweet, creamy flavor and is versatile in both sweet and savory recipes.

• 3rd Place – Fontina – Traditional Regional Italian Cheeses Category – Cheesemaker Jonathan Stender - This soft cheese has a sweet, buttery flavor, perfect for snacking or melted on pizzas or into sauces.