For the first time ever, America has come out on top at the World Cheese Awards. Rogue Creamery of Oregon has won the top prize at the event known as “the Oscars of cheese” with its Organic Rogue River Blue, an aged cows’ milk cheese wrapped in pear liqueur-soaked Syrah grape leaves that, according to Rogue’s website, has notes of fruit, spice, blackberry, vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate and bacon. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
The big news coming out of the World Cheese Awards, though, has nothing to do with the Rogue River Blue. The major story is Epoisses PDO, a soft cows milk cheese from Burgundy which was France’s highest-ranking cheese in the competition, coming in eighth place—an honor it was forced to share with Switzerland’s Le Gruyère AOP. If the poor showing wasn’t enough of an insult to France’s national pride, the Epoisses PDO was also the only French cheese to make the list of the 16 best cheeses in the world, a decision French news decries as “sacrilege.” The country is also contending with the fact that the top 16 featured four cheeses produced by its greatest national rival, Great Britain, and the Epoisses ranked well behind Britain’s top entry, the fourth-place Pitchfork Cheddar.
French news organizations have yet to announce any riots in response to the awards, but we’re expecting to learn of more overreactions in the days to come. If you’d actually like to snack on some of the world’s best cheeses, here’s the list of this year’s top 16.