Tosha Rustad
Tosha Rustad

“I can’t deny it’s a labor of love and was a high from the get-go” said Utah Cheese Awards (UCA) founder, Steven Ralph Jerman of the cheese plate food competition he launched in 2017. “It’s exciting, unpredictable and I love to see the beautiful foods that come in.”

So despite a small dip in entries, the contest moved forward in 2020, and he remained optimistic. “It was easy to adapt the judging (for the COVID-19 pandemic) with the use of masks on the staff. Judges had always been at least six feet apart for the personal space that helps them concentrate,” he explained.

“The medal ceremony is another story. We decided it wasn’t prudent to try from several angles,” he continued. The event which for accounts about two-thirds of the revenue of the show was replaced by a mail-order program that he says “doesn’t seem to have the same cachet.” However with the slight decrease in entries and a doubling of judges, the competitions ran smoother than ever, he said.

The traditional Salt Lake City judging happened on August 22 at Beehive Distilling in South Salt Lake. Another judging on August 24, took place in Logan.at the Blue Square Building, a USU-owned complex at the edge of campus. The multi-use building is the home of The Aggie Chocolate Factory, show entrant Butcher’s Bunches preserves, and the host Utah Artisan Mercantile, a store selling Butcher’s Bunches products and co-packed lines with an emphasis on craft quality. Jerman said it had a “real Wonka vibe”.

Judging in Salt Lake was lead by Tosha Rustad, who is a chef and cafe owner who was recognized by the Utah Cheese Awards for being involved since it’s inception. Joining her was Mike Riedel, who writes a beer column for the Salt Lake City Weekly newspaper and his own blog, “Utah Beer News”. Tyler Wright a long time UCA volunteer sat in as well.

Judging in Logan were Barney Northrup, Executive Chef of Crumb Brothers Bakery; Liz Kennard Butcher, founder of Butcher’s Bunches and Kailey Foster, a USU agriculture and communications student who is also a reporter with Utah Public Radio, which covered the Logan judging.

Winning the coveted Best of Show in cheese was Caputo’s Market, of Salt Lake City, with “Mesa Tome”, a hard goat cheese made by Mesa Farm in the red rock country of Torrey Utah and aged in the caves of Caputo’s Market. It was described as firm, complex, and tangy. Winning best of show in category 2, rest of the plate, was Butcher’s Bunches in the sweet sauce category with “Lemon Pineapple Rosemary Pig Jam” . It was described as smooth, lemony, not too sweet. It is made for the Salt Lake Valley Pig and a Jelly Jar restaurants.

Following is a complete list of winners. Results will also be posted with those of the previous years at utahcheeseawards.com. “It’s a whole lot of work to put on, but the cheesemakers are really starting to get into it and take it seriously, which is just great – it needs to happen”, Jerman concludes.


2020 Competed Results

Division 1 – Cheese

SWISS

Gold
Old World Swiss – Gossner Foods

Silver
Swiss – Gossner Foods
 

CHEDDAR

Gold
White Pine Vintage Cheddar – Aggie Creamery

Silver
White Aged Cheddar – Gossner Foods

Bronze
House Cheddar – Caputo’s Market


HARD

Gold
Aggiano – Aggie Creamery


INTERIOR ADJUNCTS

Gold
Wasatch Back Jack – Heber Valley Artisan Cheese

Silver
Cracked Pepper and Chive – Heber Valley Artisan Cheese

Cowboy Cheddar – Hollow Farms

Red Butte Hatch Chile – Beehive Cheese Co.

Bronze
Pepper Cheddar- Hollow Farms

Jalapeno Cheddar – Hollow Farms


EXTERIOR ADJUNCTS

Gold
Barely Buzzed – Beehive Cheese Co.

Truffle Hive – Beehive Cheese Co.

Silver
Cinnamon Honey Cheddar – Heber Valley Artisan Cheese

Bronze
Sea Hive – Beehive Cheese Co.

Tea Hive – Beehive Cheese Co


CURD

Gold
Southwest Fiesta Curd – Hollow Farms

Hickory Garlic Curd – Hollow Farms

Squeaky Bee Curd – Beehive Cheese Co.

Silver
Green Chili Curd – Hollow Farms

Honey Smoked Curd – Hollow Farms

Bronze
Hoppin’ Jalapeno Curd – Hollow Farms


MOZZARELLA

Gold
House Burrata – Caputo’s


SOFT

Gold
Crottin – Mesa Farm

Silver
Brie – Park City Creamery Truffle Brie – Park City Creamery

Bronze
Swiss and Onion Spread – Gossner Foods


GOAT SHEEP

Gold
Mesa Tome – Caputo’s Market

Silver
Barely Legal – Caputo’s Market

Bronze
Silver Queen Aged Goat – Park City Creamery


BEST OF SHOW
Mesa Tome – Caputo’s Market


Division 2

SWEET SAUCES

Gold
Pineapple Lemon Rosemary Pig Jam – Butcher’s Bunches

Silver
Watermelon Salted Caramel – Butcher’s Bunches

Jacked Up – Four Country Gals

Bronze
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam – Butcher’s Bunches


SAVORY SAUCES

Gold
Citrus Black Pepper Berry Sauce – Butcher’s Bunches

Shield Maiden Hot Sauce – Z’s Hot Sauce Mustard Hot Sauce – Z’s Hot Sauce

Silver
Serrano Margarita Hot Sauce – Tongue Spank

Bronze
Bloody Mary Mix – Z’s Hot Sauce


HONEY

Gold
Mountain Honey – Cox Honeyland


DRIED FRUIT

Gold
Monty’s Dried Montmorency Cherries – Payson Fruit Packers

BEST OF SHOW
Pineapple Lemon Rosemary Pig Jam – Butcher’s Bunches