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August 16, 2022

4/26/2012 5:38:00 PM
Iowa County hosts celebration of the grilled cheese sandwich
Jean Berns Jones

The first annual Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship April 21st was a "resounding (and delicious) success," according to Rick Terrien, Executive Director of the Iowa County Area Economic Development Corporation which hosted the contest.
The event drew over 600 people from near and far to the Iowa County Fairgrounds in Mineral Point. Attendees from at least six states were represented.
The Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship was created by the Iowa County Area Economic Development Corporation (ICAEDC) as an event to promote Wisconsin's Dairy Industry. ICAEDC board members conceived the idea, promoted it, and supported it by being there to set up tables and sweep floors.
"Our Iowa Area Economic Development organization continuously looks for innovative ways to support all areas of our community," Terrien said. "This event helped highlight the possibilities of visiting and doing business here in beautiful Iowa County, Wisconsin."
From 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., about 60 cooks competed in various categories. Both amateurs and professionals had a chance to ply their spatulas and prove they could create the tastiest grilled cheese sandwich.
Admission was free to the general public and grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, beer and wine were available for purchase all day. Live country music was provided by Ben Biser and Whiskey River.
Winners came from the far reaches of Wisconsin and from other states. The Prize for Amateur "Best of Show" went to Alise Sjostrom of Lake Mills. Sjostrom is in the marketing department of Crave Brothers Cheese in Waterloo.
The Professional "Best of Show" was presented to Tina Tonn of Milwaukee. Tonn, and her partner, Katherine Tonn own and operate a mobile cheese truck in the Milwaukee area called, A Cheesy Affair, LLC.
Iowa County winners were: Lisa Hay of Mineral Point - 2nd in the Amateur Classic category; Jadqueline Singleton of Spring Green - 2nd in Professional Classic Plus One, and 3rd in Professional Classic Dessert; and Mairin Cahill of Dodgeville - 2nd in Amateur Classic Plus Extras.
"We have had many phone calls from area residents telling us how much they enjoyed the event and importantly, how proud they were to show off our great Iowa County region to others," Terrien said.
"My favorite quote came in an eMail on Sunday from the president of a chamber of commerce in central Iowa. He told me that he and his wife spent about $1,000 in our area stores after the event," he continued.
"Another gentleman called me and said, "If retail businesses in Iowa County didn't make money from this event, they must have been closed."
Exhibitors at the contest included the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Regal Ware/American Kitchen, Madison College, Metcalfe's Market, Sector 67, Melthouse Bistro. Driftless Market, Boar's Head, Green County Cheese Days, Mineral Point/Dodgeville Chambers of Commerce, Iowa County Humane Society, ICAEDC/Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, and the Hodan Center.
Established in 2009, the ICAEDC is a non-profit 501(c)6 organization dedicated to business development. It's mission is to be a leader in economic development for all of Iowa County by facilitating meaningful activities that promote growth, retention and prosperity. ICAEDC serves the people and businesses of the Iowa County area by developing economic opportunities with tools, training, and resources.
"Iowa County continues its leadership in creating innovative economic development opportunities around local agriculture and our wonderful quality of life in Iowa County," Terrien said.
"The 2012 Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship was a huge success and shows just what kind of strong interest people have in our area from across the region and neighboring states. This is a great place to live and work and these kind of events help highlight that fact," he added.

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