It is a mystery why anyone would choose to snack on anything that is not cheese and crackers. The snack is simple, but its simplicity is where its value lies. Cheese and crackers is the rare snack that appeals to any age group. Kids dig club crackers and squeeze cheese, while even the most sophisticated adults can appreciate a gourmet charcuterie board. But, the cheese game has just been taken to the next level thanks to the dairy farmers in the cheesiest state in the union: Wisconsin. Earlier this week, the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin debuted an unbelievable feat: the World’s Largest Cheese Board.
The newly-crowned Guinness World record holder measured an unprecedented 35 feet long and 7 feet wide. In fact, it was so long that it occupied an entire street in downtown Madison, Wisconsin's capital. When fully stocked, the board boasted 4,437 pounds and 145 different varieties of cheese, all of which were produced in Wisconsin.
Sitting front and center of the board was the pièce de résistance: an unbelievable 2,000-pound wheel of Henning's award-winning cheddar. To either side of the wheel sat blue-veined and cave-aged cheddars, feta, other hand-rubbed wheels, and cheese curds — a Wisconsin staple. Sartori Black Pepper BellaVitano, the 2017 United States Cheese Champion was another notable lineup feature.
If the gigantic board in itself was not outrageous enough, it was custom-designed and made to fit within a life-sized, mock barn. The "barn" was created by the Better Block Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using urban design to foster community. The structure was crafted using CNC technology — a computerized production method that is described as a mix between woodcutting and 3D printing. Why, in Wisconsin, a regular barn was not available has not been confirmed.
The entire production — preparation, transportation, housing, styling, and weighing all of the cheeses used in the display — took the work of 60 people to complete.
After the cheese board was officially judged by representatives from Guinness World Records, more than 45,000 cheese lovers queued to catch a glimpse of the cheesiest attraction in Madison. The first 2,000 spectators in line went home with specially curated cheese plates, comprised of some of the products that adorned the big board. Further, spectators were able to enter a raffle to win cheese products (including full wheels). All of the proceeds from the raffle went to the Great American Milk Drive. All remaining cheese was donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin. Both organizations aim to combat hunger, and tackle the issue of food scarcity in the United States.
Suzanne Fanning, the vice president of marketing communications with the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, spoke on her excitement about the achievement in a statement: "We wanted to showcase the amazing breadth of the award winning cheeses in Wisconsin and we thought — what better way to do that than to create the world's largest cheeseboard? Wisconsin's licensed cheesemakers put the art in artisan, drawing from their rich European heritage, cheese making traditions and impressive innovations, and we're thrilled to share their masterful creations with the world in a unique and fun way."