Big news cheese lovers: The (yes, that's a real thing) has crowned a new champion in the world of cheese.
Earlier this month, a blue cheese named stole the hearts (and tastebuds) of judges from across the globe, claiming the top prize of all cheeses for 2016.
Kraftkar hails from Norwegian cheesemaker , who produces the cheese using cow's milk straight from the family farm in the village of Torjulvågen. You've got to admit that craftsmanship alone is pretty impressive.
Still, Kraftkar faced some steep competition at the 29th annual World Cheese Awards this year, organized by the .
Two Spanish cheeses were tied for first, the torta-style Cremositos Del Zújar and the washed rind goats' milk Cala Blanc, before Kraftkar would take the lead.
"The mould in this cheese is developed really nicely. It's very evenly distributed. On top of that, the texture is great: when it crumbles you get a soft creaminess. And on the finish, it coats your tongue with a real soft landing," says Nick Tsioros of Canada's Olympic Cheese, who championed Kraftkar in the final judging sessions.
Hundreds of judges, representing 26 different nations, assessed more than 3,000 cheeses from 31 countries. And while that may sound like a cheese lover's dream, on the planet is definitely no easy feat.
First, 66 teams of judges work to identify cheeses worthy of a bronze, silver or gold prize, looking at a number of varieties and qualities, from color to texture and, of course, taste. The teams then nominate one worthy cheese, each dubbed a Super Gold, to be judged by a Super Jury of 16 international experts.
Each member of the Super Jury selects his or her favorite to move on to the last round, where the panel debates the final 16 before ultimately choosing the top winner.
While the Norwegian cheese has won gold at the awards two times before, in 2011 and 2015, this is first time it's been crowned a Super Gold let alone the World Champion, says Tingvollost owner and farmer Kristin Waagen.
Now if only U.S. stores could get around to adding the award-winning Kraftkar to their shelves. A cheese lover can dream, right?