The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW), formerly the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, in Madison, has officially set a new Guiness Book of World Records title by creating the world’s largest cheese board. This is not surprising, as Wisconsin produces 48 percent of the specialty cheeses in the U.S.
Spanning 35 feet long and 7 feet wide, the custom board took over an entire street in downtown Madison, with more than 2 tons of the state’s finest cheeses represented. This topped the previous world record held by a European by more than 1,000 pounds.
The cheese board included 4,437 pounds and 145 different varieties, types and styles of Wisconsin’s specialty and artisan cheeses, with national and international award-winners among them. This one-of-a-kind display centered around a 2,000-pound Henning’s Cheddar wheel, which was surrounded by everything a true cheese connoisseur could imagine, from blue-veined and cave aged Cheddars to fresh Feta, squeaky curds and hand-rubbed wheels to pungent Brick and even the 2017 U.S. Cheese Champion, Sartori Black Pepper BellaVitano, among others.
“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,” says Suzanne Fanning, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin’s vice president of marketing communications. “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.”
The gigantic cheeseboard was custom made to fit inside a life-size, digitally- fabricated barn using CNC technology—a computerized process that’s a cross between woodcutting and 3-D printing—by Better Block Foundation, a nonprofit that uses urban design to foster community. This record-breaking feat was a team effort that involved over 60 people to prep, transport, house, style and weigh all of the cheeses.
Following the official judging ceremony by a Guinness World Records adjudicator, a crowd of over 45,000 excited attendees was able to witness the first of its kind display. The first 2,000 guests in line received a curated cheese plate to-go.
Despite the vast amount of cheese involved in this effort, none of it went to waste. Spectators entered a raffle to win full wheels of cheese, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Great American Milk Drive, the first-ever nationwide program to deliver nutrient-rich gallons of milk to children and families who need it most; the remaining cheese was donated to the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.
Funded by Wisconsin dairy farmers, DFW is a non-profit organization that focuses on marketing and promoting Wisconsin’s dairy products.