Sartori Black Pepper BellaVitano, a cheese variety offered by Mosinee, Wisconsin, supplier Maple Ridge Farms (PPAI 114165), won the Grand Champion title in the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, outscoring more than 2,000 entries from 33 states.

“We are proud to feature Sartori Black Pepper BellaVitano in our cheese packages, and winning the title of Grand Champion is a tribute to this great cheesemaker,” says Tom Riordan, president of Maple Ridge Farms.

In the competition, judges praised the cheese’s balance, noting the creamy nuttiness of the aged cheese combined with the bright and bold flavors of fresh-cracked black pepper. Black Pepper BellaVitano scored a near-perfect 99.018, edging out the other Wisconsin cheesemakers in the First and Second Runner Up slots. Last November the Sartori cheese earned a Gold Medal at the World Cheese Awards.