Ohio Swiss Cheese Association

Grand Champion Cheese Making

2011, 2012 Grand Champions, Anne and Richard Guggisberg of Guggisberg Cheese, Charm, Ohio

They say it takes a lot to make a champion, and that saying holds true when it comes to the Ohio Swiss Festival’s Blue-Ribbon seal given to the Grand Champion Cheese Maker’s product at each year’s festival.

After nearly 60 years, this award continues to denote the pinnacle of cheese making perfection from Ohio’s Amish Country. It is bestowed by professional judges from the Ohio Swiss Cheese Association in accordance to their sponsorship and participation in the Ohio Swiss Festival.

Judging is held before the festival takes place, though the official coronation of Grand Champion happens on Festival Friday at 9:45 p.m. on the Main St. Stage.

Guests shouldn’t feel left out of the judging! To participate in the People’s Choice Cheese Judging, one must simply find the Midway Pavilion at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening and volunteer.

The People’s Choice is held in conjunction with a Swiss Cheese Eating Contest and is followed by The Annual Cheese Auction. The auction allows for the purchase of master-crafted Swiss cheese from the artisan cheese makers who call the Sugarcreek Area home.

If you can’t make the auction, don’t fret.

A Cheese Distribution Station at the Fire Station on N. Broadway feature combo bags of nibblers and blocks of cheese for you to enjoy. The Wine Tasting Area is located next the cheese distribution station, which allows for that all-too-familiar pairing.

With many local craftsmen showcasing their talents, you can count on finding something to suit your pallet. Buying a block of cheese or your favorite bottle of wine is a great way to take home a taste of the Ohio Swiss Festival.

Historic Link of the Ohio Swiss Festival and its Cheese Makers

Festival-goers look over a wide assortment of cheeses.

Festival-goers look over a wide assortment of cheeses.

The Ohio Swiss Festival was originally organized to celebrate the Sugarcreek area’s Swiss heritage and to help numerous local artisan cheese makers selloff any excess Swiss cheese they may have produced.  That said, after nearly 60 years, it continues to be a success.

Sugarcreek and its surrounding area were heavily populated by German and Swiss settlers.  At one time the art of cheese making was practiced much like it was in the old country – starting with little more than a copper kettle, milk and small fire. While time and Environmental Protection Agency standards have changed, the quality of cheese in this area of Ohio continues to be world class.

Many of the families that started making cheese all those years ago continue to pass on the tradition from generation to generation.  While you can find big-box cheese at your local super market, you won’t find the quality, craftsmanship or family touch that you will at the cheese houses in the Sugarcreek Area.

Nor will you find the selection of quality all in one place, like you can at the Ohio Swiss Festival.