Drum roll, please.
The winner of an autographed copy (by all 12 cheesemakers) of the 2011 Portrait of a Wisconsin Artisan Cheesemaker is Melissa Routzahn of Crystal Lake, Illinois, who penned this little treasure:
In my dreams the whole world's made of cheese.
Tommes and Chevres grow like fruit on the trees.
The moon's made of bleu,
Rivers flow with fondue,
And the Limburger wafts in the breeze.
Ahh ... it makes me feel happy and warm inside. Good job, Melissa, your autographed calendar is on its way in the mail!
With so many amazing entries, it was hard to pick just one winner. That's why the official sake-drinking and cheese-eating committee also named six runners-up, all of whom will get a regular 2011 Portrait of a Cheesemaker Calendar (still in the plastic - alas, no autographs, but super cool nonetheless). Here are the runners-up:
Bob Wills, Cheesemaker at Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain, Wis. (cheesemakers are multi-talented) wrote this one:
A young man who pulled mozzarella
was really a muscular fella.
With his strong hand and wrist
no girls could resist
his backrubs, and things they won't tell ya.
Spaulding Gray, the cat from Vancouver, Washington, who writes Cheesemonger's Weblog, won a runner-up prize with this entry:
I have a cheese in my fridge;
It’s named Upland’s Pleasant Ridge.
It’s won best of show,
Thrice but not in a row.
To savor, daily I eat but a smidge.
Amy Wallace of Madison, Wisconsin penned a whole page of limericks, but this one was the judges' favorite:
My favorite cheese comes from Sartori,
One bite and you’ll taste all the glory…
It’s called Bellavitano
It’s truly divine, Oh!
Now I’m hooked, that’s the end of the story!
Kent Roper from Sacramento, California penned this one:
I met a man who wouldn't eat Cheddar
At least not in real stormy weather
He'd cry and he'd weep
He wanted cheese from a sheep
He said that Manchego was better
Deb Dunstan from an undisclosed location (Deb, send me your mailing address) scored brownie points with this "Ode to Chz Geek":
We Hooked a sweet, constantine gal,
From Saxony green fields that swell,
Of valleys driven by Carr,
River bend sheep seen afar,
As she promotes our state's cheese so well.
And last, but certainly not least was Doug Harris, from Stockton-on-Tees in England with this one (watch for a package from the U.S. coming your way, Doug):
Take a cheese, then neglect, let it stew.
Watch it rot and unpleasantly hue.
Just ignore your material
While it gets all bacterial.
Then you'll end with success from the blue.
Thanks to everyone for your creativity and all the entries! You made a cold Wisconsin night much warmer and happier.