Judges Brandon Prochaska, technical services manager at Dairi Concepts, and Mike Comotto, a retired dairy consultant, served as judges in the Dairy Products competition at the Illinois State Fair. Both judges remarked on the process of debating the entries and their ranks. Comotto stated, "We take all things into consideration: workmanship, packing, age, everything that is important to make a final decision of best overall champions." Prochaska added, "We picked what we thought was best."
After announcing the five champions, Comotto and Prochaska provided explanations for their selections:
The champion from Caves of Fairbault's Blue Cheese “exemplified the perfect blue cheese with its creamy flavor and high quality blue mold veins. It had an excellent blue mold color with a creamy flavor and best of class flavor notes.” Master of ceremonies for the Governor's Sale of Champions, Orion Samuelson, purchased the cheese for $800.
Caves of Fairbault's Aged Gouda Champion “was an excellent example of aged gouda, making for a great table cheese. This Aged Gouda had a very well-developed surface rind with a balanced flavor of acid and creamy notes that was typical of the class.” Marty and Madonna Davis, McDonald's Restaurants in the Springfield area, purchased the cheese for $800.
The Governor and First Lady Rauner purchased the following three dairy champions.
The champion from Savencia U.S.A. Cheese, Alouette's Brie Cheese, earned a perfect score while being a top of the line Brie cheese. “This Brie had a perfect mold surface ripened rind with a creamy cheese texture. The flavor included a pleasant balance of earthy and flavor notes. The Brie sold for $1,050.
V & V Supremo's Flavored Chihuahua Cheese Champion “had a body and texture that provided a melt in your mouth cheese. Just the right amount of pepper condiment was added to spice up the pleasant, creamy flavor exhibited by the cheese.” The cheese sold for $1,000.
JB's Strawberry Ice Cream from Worth earned a perfect score and “was a prime example of a delightful strawberry ice cream.” It sold for a record ice cream price of $1,100.
The award-winning dairy products were on display for fairgoers to view and were a part of the Governor's Sale of Champions in the Livestock Building on the Illinois State fairgrounds.
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