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French producer is the new big cheese after claiming world title

A hard sheep’s milk product called Esquirrou was named the best on the planet at the World Championship Cheese Contest in the US.

A new king of the cheese world has been crowned in Wisconsin.

The winner of the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest, staged in the US, is a hard sheep’s milk cheese called Esquirrou.

The announcement was made in Madison, Wisconsin.

Esquirrou is made in France at Mauleon Fromagerie by Michel Touyarou and imported to the US by Savencia Cheese USA of New Holland, Pennsylvania.

Twenty cheeses out of a record 3,402 entries were finalists for the top prize.

Sylvain Diedrichs, of Savencia Cheese USA, which imports the winning Esquirrou cheese, savours the victory (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal/AP)

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, which hosts the contest, said five of those cheeses were from Wisconsin.

The contest began on Tuesday and judges had to sniff, taste and inspect 121 classes of dairy products, with entries from 26 nations.

Two years ago a smear-ripened hard cheese called Grand Cru Surchoix made by Fitchburg, Wisconsin-based Emmi Roth USA won the biennial contest.

The cheese is made in Monroe, Wisconsin and the company is a subsidiary of Switzerland-based Emmi Group.

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