A nationwide grilled cheese competition included original recipes with everything from Cap’n Crunch® to honeycomb, to nachos and grilled shrimp combined with award-winning Wisconsin cheeses that go beyond the standard slice. The competition’s grand prize winner featured a blend of Wisconsin butterkäse and fontina cheese, rich lobster and vibrant chimichurri sauce.
“After the first bite, I knew The Green Lobster was our clear winner,” said Laura Werlin, James Beard award-winning author of six books on cheese. “The butterkäse and fontina cheeses were by far the dominant flavors, but all of the other ingredients in the sandwich held their own – they were the supporting cast for the cheese which had the starring role.”
A panel of 10 culinary experts from editors, authors and bloggers across the nation tasted and reviewed the top entries in an all-day judging event. Grilled cheese aficionados from nearly all 50 states submitted over 1,600 original recipes for the competition’s seventh year. The Food Network’s Cheese Twins, Charlie and Michael Kalish, announced the winners live on the Wisconsin Cheese Facebook page.
“We wanted to inspire people to put a new twist on an old favorite—the grilled cheese sandwich,” said Suzanne Fanning, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Vice President, Marketing Communications. “This year’s entries delivered some true masterpieces. Unique ingredients combined with Wisconsin’s artisan cheeses provided delicious creations that could be served in the world’s finest restaurants or on the family dinner table.”
The 2018 Grilled Cheese Academy judging panel included Geraldine Campbell, Executive Editor at Every Day with Rachael Ray, Jennifer Darling, Editor-in-Chief at All Recipes, Stephanie & Chris Schaldenbrand, Bloggers at Chasing Snacks and winners of the 2015 competition, Beth Tomkiw, Chief Content Officer at Taste of Home, Laura Werlin, Author and American Cheese Expert, MacKenzie Smith, Blogger at Grilled Cheese Social and Erika Kubick, Blogger at Cheese Sex Death and Digital Editor at Culture Cheese Magazine.