It's called the International Caseus Award and the 2007 competition was recently held in Lyon, France. Teams were challenged with conducting a sales pitch and identifying the names, ages and origins of several cheeses simply by tasting them. In another heat, competitors had to cut wheels of cheese into specific weights and sizes in 30 minutes or less.
This year a team from the United States entered for the first time, although Canada has been in the running for a few years. The North Americans faced stiff competition from their European counterparts, however. This year's top prizes went respectively to France, Belgium and Italy. Incidentally, the US team came in dead last... but there's always next year!
Asked about his favorite cheeses, Rodolphe Le Meunier from Team France replied:
"Appreciation of cheeses depends upon the situation in which one finds oneself. Feeling peckish at 10 am? Is the temperature outside 30°C or - 2°C? Is there a bottle of red wine on the table? Is it to finish or make a full meal? In fact, what I appreciate most, is eating the best cheese at the right moment."I couldn't agree more... It may be a few years before I am proficient enough to compete at this level, but at least I now have my goal clearly in sight: the Cheese Olympics here I come!