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Judging Of Utah Cheese Awards Expands To Logan As A Second Location

For the first time since it’s 2017 inception, part of the Utah Cheese Awards competition was held in Logan. 

“It's not about any particular cheesemaker, any particular cheese. It's the excitement that when you bring it all together, we have a pretty, pretty amazing array of cheese,” said Steven Jerman.

Steven Jerman is the managing director of the Utah Cheese Awards. Jerman was first exposed to the world of artisan cheeses a few years ago when he worked at Rockhill Creamery in Richmond, Utah.  He created the Utah Cheese Awards to showcase the quality of different cheeses being made in the state.

For this year’s competition, judging took place in Logan on Monday and in Salt Lake City last week.

“We're more established and we're doing two judging," explained Jerman. "Last year we had about 80 entries and it was just fatiguing.”

When it comes to putting the contest together, integrity is very important to Jerman. He wants to make sure his judges have credibility in the cheese making field, but that no one ends up judging their own product. Which is why when one of the expert judges was a no show, I was asked to help out.

I tried cheeses from a variety of the state's cheesemakers (since it was a blind taste test I’m not sure which ones) but the categories included Swiss, flavored curds, goat cheese, savory sauces and adjunct cheese— which is a culture that increases the intensity of and changes the balance of the cheeses flavor.

One of the more experienced judges, Barney Northop, the Executive Chef for Crumb Brothers Bakery in Logan told me when he judges, he looks at the overall experience of the cheese he is eating.

“I'm looking for overall flavor," said Northop. "I'm looking for texture. You know, some of the, the cheese's have spices or other things on the outsides of them and I'm, I guess what those ones I'm judging on whether or not in it enhances the cheese or not.”

According to Jerman, there are about 5-10 different artisan cheese makers from around the state that participate in the contest each year. Contest results will be public by Nov. 15.