Epic Cheese Competition 2024

We are having an Epic Cheese Competition as part of our September meeting!  The competition (open to all club members) will be part of our September meeting.  Peter Zien (owner of AleSmith/CheeseSmith) will be judging to determine a Best of Show, and the winner will get to make that recipe commercially with Peter at CheeseSmith, and can also work on naming/labelling!  There will be a $10 per cheese entry fee, which will go to Peter and Vicky’s charity, Anvil of Hope (www.anvilofhope.org).

Entry requirements:

  • The competition is open to all club members who are paid up for 2024
  • Bring your cheese (1/2 lb) and recipe to the September 17 meeting
  • Pay the entry fee of $10 per cheese to the Anvil of Hope charity.  More on this as we get closer to September
  • The cheese must meet Cheese Guidelines and Limitations outlined below

Cheese Guidelines and Limitations to Entry:

  • A list of acceptable styles are listed below
  • Quantity to submit: 1/2 lb or more
  • Limited to cow’s milk only
  • Herbs/spices are allowed, per category description
  • Washed rind is ok in the spirits/beer/wine category
  • NO blooming rinds, blues or other washed rind varieties

About 1 month before the September 17 meeting:

About 1 month before the September 17 meeting, we will reach out to the club to find out what style(s) you are planning to bring, and how many entries you have.  Consider this an RSVP, which will help us to organize the judging.  In addition, I will provide information about your $10 (per cheese) entry fee, which will go to the Anvil of Hope charity.  All entries fees will be paid prior to the September 17 meeting.

On September 17:

Bring to the September meeting at AleSmith at 6:30pm:

  • ½ lb of cheese (more is ok)
  • Your recipe

The Judging

  • Peter Zien of CheeseSmith will convene a panel of judges.  Cheeses will be judged to style, and will then be narrowed down to a Best of Show as the overall winner.  Overall presentation (e.g., how your cheese is plated) will not be factored into the judging, but defects in your cheese will be judged.

Fine Print

All information has been provided to the best of our ability, but know that Peter reserves the right to make any changes he sees fit.  For example, if there is an issue with availability of ingredients, or anything which might cause a potential contamination issue in Peter’s aging space…


Send an email to president@quesodiego.org.

Cheese Styles Accepted

 Fromage Blanc, Fromage Frais
 Cheese Curds

 Brick Cheese
 Dry Jack
 Monterey Jack
 Brick Muenster
 Teleme
 Colby

 This category is for cheese that does not belong in any of the above listed categories.
Cheesemakers will be asked for a brief explanation of what differentiates their entry.

 Cheese modeled after or based on recipes for established European or other
international types or styles (Abondance, Beaufort, Butterkase, Caerphilly, English
Territorials, Gruyere, Juustoleipa, Monastery, Port Salut-styles, etc.).
 Dutch-style (Gouda, Edam, etc.)
 Emmental-style with Eye Formation (Swiss, Baby Swiss)

 Cheddar – aged through 12 months
 Aged Cheddar – aged 13 months through 23 months
 Mature Cheddar – aged 24 months+
 Sweet Cheddar- commonly made by including Lb. helveticus adjunct culture

 Cheeses made in the Americas based on the recipes of the Central and South
American, Cuban, Hispanic, Latino, Mexican, Portuguese, and Spanish communities.
 Ripened, Aged over 90 days (Anejo, Cincho, Cotija, Flamingo Bolla, Prato)
 Fresh, Unripened (Acoreano, Freir, Queijo Blanco, Queso Andino, Queso Blanco, Queso
Campesino, Queso Crema, Queso de Puna, Queso Fresco)

 Grating types (Aged Asiago, Domestic Parmesan, Grana, Reggianito, Romano, Sardo)
 Traditional Regional Italian Cheeses (including but not limited to: Mezzo Secco, Asiago
Piccante and Fresca, Piave, Montasio, Caciotta, Bra, Ragusano, Fontina, Fontal, Toma,
Robiola Natural Rind, etc.)
 Pasta Filata types (Provolone, Caciocavallo)
 Mozzarella types (Scamorza, String Cheese)
 Fresh Mozzarella
 Burrata – Fresh mozzarella encasing a distinctly separate core made from softer curd
and cream, or other soft cheese
 Stracciatella – Mozzarella and cream typically used to fill Burrata

 Feta – made from cow's milk

 Cheeses containing ingredients distinct from, and not included in, the dairy process
itself. Ingredients are either blended internally or applied externally for the purpose of
adding additional flavors not found in those dairy products themselves.
 Fresh Unripened Cheese with Flavor Added (Fromage Blanc, Fromage Frais, Impastata,
Quark, etc.)
 Cheese Curds with Flavor Added
 Soft-Ripened with Flavor Added
 International-Style with Flavor Added – Intended style required on entry form
 Cheddar with Flavor Added
 Cheddar with hot pepper (capsaicin) /spicy flavor added (intended hot)
 Hispanic-Style with Flavor Added – Intended style required on entry form
 Feta with Flavor Added
 American Originals with Flavor Added

 Information about the smoke source (i.e. natural and/or smoke flavorings) must
accompany each cheese entry.
 Smoked Italian Styles (Mozzarella, Scamorza, Bocconcini, Ovalini, etc.)
 Smoked Cheddars
 Gouda – Smoked Cheeses

 Entries must identify the type of marinade (olive oil, safflower oil, vinegar, wine, spirits
and liqueur, etc., including additional ingredients).
 Cheeses Marinated in Liquids and Ingredients – Cheeses with a rind or crust washed in
salted brine, whey, beer, wine, other alcohol