BENTAM, Conn. (WTNH) — You’ve heard of best in show… but what about best in cheese?

A dairy farm in Litchfield County is putting Connecticut on the map in the cheese world.

An aged gouda called “Europa” from Arethusa Farm in Bantam has been named the 2023 United States Champion Cheese at a competition in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The event is held every two years by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

The cheese went up against 2,300 others from across the country – winning the top honor. The cheeses were rated on proportions, shape, color, texture, smell and taste.

It scored a 98.739 out of 100.

“It really was a surprise that we won best of show,” said Tony Yurgaitis, who owns Arethusa Farm.

The farm is well-known for ice cream — and is now getting attention for its cheese.

Chris Casiello, an Arethusa’s cheesemaker, and describes Europa as a “sweeter cheese, nutty, some savory notes. The staff likes to describe a butterscotch note they get out of it.”

Casiello said the gouda only gets better with age.

“Nine months, it’s a fun cheese,” he said. “At 12 months, it’s getting more complex. By the time it gets to 20 months and more complex. It’s just amazing.“

He said the win honors the agricultural history of Connecticut.

“That just shows you what you can do in a small dairy with Connecticut milk,” Casiello said.

A full wheel of this award-winning cheese weighs about 20 pounds and its aged in a facility called “the cave.”

Arethusa also uses milk from four local dairy farms, including Birch Mill Farm.

“We’re just really proud of what we do and Arethusa recognized the quality of milk that we had and the quality of cows that we have,” said Katlyn Kinsella, who owns Birch Mill Farm.

Meanwhile, Tony Yurgaitis wants Arethusa to continue to grow and credits his hard-working team for the win.