Cream Cheese contest winners

This "Pumpkin Pie Dip" by Cindy Lou Randall of Edgerton was runner-up in the dips category of the Midwest Cream Cheese Contest held Saturday at The Watermark. This is Randall's 11th year competing in the 12th annual contest.

Cooks from around the Midwest entered into the 12th annual Midwest Cream Cheese Competition Saturday, surrounded by other holiday events in downtown Beaver Dam.

There were 40 entries, and Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce president Phil Fritsche was pleased with the response from both those who competed and those who attended.

“It’s fantastic to be doing an event like this for 12 years, and that certainly would not be possible without the support of Kraft Heinz Company,” Fritsche said. “Tying this in with all the others things going on downtown was also a really good fit, and brought out a lot of people to join in the fun.”

This is the second year that the event was held at The Watermark, 209 S. Center St., which also hosted the holiday parade after-party.

Cooks brought their entries to The Watermark from noon to 1 p.m. Judging was completed in three categories in three different time slots, including “best new cream cheese recipe” at 1 p.m., “greatest cream cheese dip” at 2 p.m. and “ultimate cheesecake” at 3 p.m.

Fritsche was happy with the entries — both for creativity and overall deliciousness.

The awards presentation began at 4:45 p.m. Prizes included cash ($200 for first, $100 for second and $50 for third), a year’s supply of Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese (two bars a week) and a tour of the Beaver Dam Kraft Foods plant (the largest producer of cream cheese in the United States). Corporate support comes from Kraft Heinz and Alliant Energy. Local Kraft plant employees served as judges and helpers, and ensured the contest ran smoothly from start to finish.

This year’s judges were:

Best New Cream Cheese Recipe — Teresa Haumchild and Seth Rehbaum of Kraft Heinz, along with Chris Connaughty, Karen Gibbs and Ken Thomas.

Greatest Cream Cheese Dip Recipe — Linda Fetter and Kelly Townsend of Kraft Heinz, along with Mark Born, Bev Beal-Loeck and Mary Fitzgerald.

Ultimate Cheesecake Recipe — Dave Wallace and Lisa Wiegel of Kraft Heinz, along with Becky Glewen, Frank Ferree and Jeff Kitchen.

Fritsche believes that pairing the cream cheese event with others helped make it a big success. Competitors in the past came from as far away as Milwaukee, Baraboo, Wisconsin Dells and Madison. This year the farthest came from Minnesota.

“We like to see that because this is a great, fun event for everyone involved,” Fritsche said.

Recipe samples were available after each judging session and were also available after the parade at The Watermark.