5 years ago

Monger Madness 2018: Help us pick the ultimate cheese champion

Eight cheeses. Three weeks. Seven taste-offs. Who will be the champion of cheese? The king of queso? The finest of fromage? Join us for Monger Madness, in stores now through April 4, 2018.

Vote for your favorites by texting CHEESE to 55955.* When you cast your vote, you’ll receive a $5-off coupon for cheese and be entered for a chance to win a $100 Lunds & Byerlys gift card!

Last year’s big winner, Shepherd’s Way Hidden Falls, will be facing off against seven other cheeses in the ultimate cheese-tasting event of the year. Meet the competitors:

Shepherd’s Way Hidden Falls

  • The white, soft, delicate bloomy rind of this Brie-style cheese envelopes a lactic straw yellow interior with flavors of butter, cream and citrus with an earthy, mushroomy finish.
  • Made with pasteurized sheep’s milk and pasture-raised organic cow’s milk.
  • Made by female cheesemaker Jodi Olsen-Read of Shepherd’s Way Farms in Nerstrand, Minnesota.
  • A farmstead cheese, produced from the milk collected on the same farm where the cheese is produced. Farmstead cheesemakers only use milk from animals they raise.

Gorgonzola Dolcina

  • Creamy, sweet and rich, made with pasteurized cow’s milk.
  • Made by the Sartori Cheese Co. in Antigo, Wisconsin, which has three Master Cheesemakers.
  • This blue-veined cheese was inspired by their Italian heritage.

Port Salut

  • A semi-soft cheese with a smooth, creamy texture and an acidic, mellow flavor.
  • Made with pasteurized cow’s milk.
  • From Brittany in the Loire Valley, France.
  • Named after the abbey of Notre Dame du Port du Salut in Entrammes, this cheese was produced by Trappist monks during the 19th century.

Marieke Golden

  • Gouda-style cheese; smooth, nutty and slightly sweet.
  • A farmstead cheese, made with raw cow’s milk and aged on traditional Dutch pine planks.
  • Marieke and Rolf Penterman immigrated to Thorp, Wisconsin, from the Netherlands in 2002. They both grew up on small dairy farms and came to pursue their passion for dairy farming in America because Holland is so small and its population so dense, making it impossible to expand farms there.
  • After getting her cheese-making license, Marieke returned to Holland to learn in a traditional Boerenkaas (Farmhouse Cheese Plant).
  • This award-winning cheese uses the best quality milk, piped fresh into the vats from the first milking; it becomes cheese within 5 hours of milking, which results in a melt-in-your-mouth texture and flavor.

Deer Creek Vat 17

  • Complex flavor; deep and bold. Pairs well with a Merlot, a Scotch Ale or a French Cider.
  • Grade AA certified cheddar, aged at least 2 years. 
  • Deer Creek cheeses were developed by Chris Gentine of Artisan Cheese Exchange in Wisconsin. 
  • Chris uses his training as a Wisconsin Master Cheese Grader to carefully select various batches of cheese suitable for aging and uses grading standards as a certification of the cheeses’ quality.

Old Amsterdam

  • Gold-medal winner! Tastes like a young Parmigiano-Reggiano crossed with an aged Dutch Gouda.
  • Rich, nutty, robust flavor and firm texture.
  • Made in Holland from local pasteurized cow’s milk and imported Italian cultures; aged over twelve months. 
  • Perfect with a glass of fine wine or port.

Alemar Bent River Camembert

  • Artisanal, small batch, soft-ripened cheese. 
  • Named for the sharp turn of the Minnesota River a few hundred yards from the Alemar production site, it has a creamy interior and loads of flavor.
  • As the cheese ages, the flavor profile will change with a mushroom-like aroma and taste leading the way. 
  • A slight press of your thumb in the top-center of the cheese will tell you a lot: at full ripeness, the indent will not recover.


  • Lagrein wine-flavored cheese is produced with the pure pasteurized mountain milk in the Alto Adige Region in northern Italy. 
  • Made according to the traditional methods handed down through generations, it is characterized by irregular cracks and cured with the Lagrein wine and garlic cloves. 
  • Creamy and elastic texture with a nutty flavor and accent flavors of wine and spice.
  • Added herbs, garlic and pepper are used to soak the cheese for 5 days. 
  • Flavor penetrates the pasteurized cow’s milk and the result 6 weeks later is an irregular, finely-holed cheese with a creamy, smooth paste that is reminiscent of the French Gaperon.

Taste-off Schedule:

March 15-17: Round 1, Game 1
Hidden Falls vs. Gorgonzola Dolcina

WINNER: Gorgonzola Dolcina

March 18-20: Round 1, Game 2
Port Salut vs. Marieke Golden

WINNER: Marieke Golden

March 21-23: Round 1, Game 3
Deer Creek Vat 17 vs. Old Amsterdam

WINNER: Deer Creek Vat 17

March 24-26: Round 1, Game 4
Bent River Camembert vs. Lagrein

March 27-29: Semi-Finalists, Game 1
Gorgonzola Dolcina vs. Marieke Golden

March 30 – April 1: Semi-Finalists, Game 2
Deer Creek Vat 17 vs. Winner Game 4

April 2-4: Championship Matchup

April 5: Champion Announced

Stop by our deli between March 15 and April 4, taste these magnificent cheeses for yourself and help us choose the 2018 winner!

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