Roth Käse cheese takes honors

America's Dairyland does it again. Roth Käse USA cheeses of Monroe, Wis., won three national awards at the 2009 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, including Best of Class honors for its Petite Swiss. A new Roth Käse cheese, Moody Blue, a blue cheese smoked over fruit wood, was second in the smoked cheese category. Roth's Private Reserve, a raw cow's milk Alpine-style cheese, won second place in the smear ripened category. (That's a cheese whose surface is smeared with a ripening bacteria. You're welcome.) The cheese championship is the nation's largest and oldest cheese competition, dating to the 1890s. This year's contest in Green Bay, Wis., had a record 1,360 entries from 32 states.

Truvia hits the shelves

There's a new sweetener in the grocery store, made by the folks down the road at Cargill. Truvia (tru-VEE-a) is touted as a natural, zero-calorie sweetener made with rebiana, which is extracted from stevia plant, a tropical herb known for its sweet leaves. Stevia, more than 200 times sweeter than sugar, has a circuitous history. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had restricted its import in the early 1990s as an "unsafe food additive," despite its being widely used in Japan. Some suspected that makers of other sweeteners were behind the move, but the FDA eventually said it could be a dietary supplement and, in December, gave stevia its thumbs-up GRAS designation, or "generally recognized as safe."

Truvia was developed jointly by Cargill and the Coca-Cola Co., which uses it in some of its juice products. One packet of Truvia is equal to two teaspoons of sugar. Cargill said it can be used in cooking and baking, although it doesn't yet come in bulk quantities. The suggested retail price for a 40-count carton is $3.99. To read more, go to www.truvia.com.

Easter eggs au lait

Here are some tips from Food Network Kitchens for using food dyes to achieve an artisan look to your bunny basket. For red, use 2 pounds of beets, peeled and diced; yellow or tan, 1 pound of onion skins; yellow/orange, a 1.9-ounce jar of turmeric; purple, two small heads of red cabbage, sliced; warm brown, 6 cups of strong coffee. For all but the coffee color, combine the vegetable or spice with 4 quarts water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes or until the color is dark. Cool and strain. Add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar and then add hard-cooked eggs to each color. Refrigerate overnight. For the coffee color, add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar to cooled coffee, add hard-cooked eggs and refrigerate overnight.

It's cabin time

The Lake Home & Cabin Show is this weekend at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Along with the latest in logs and bogs, Patrick Moore, a chef in Brule, Wis., known as the Getaway Gourmet, will showcase summertime salads and homemade dressings in his "Going Green" cooking demonstrations. Notable is his Brule River Salad inspired by fresh river trout, wild mushrooms and fruits of the Boise Brule River Valley -- and in your local grocery store. Demos are at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m., 1, 3, and 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the cabin show is $10 for adults; $4 for ages 5 to 15 and free for ages 4 and under. For the entire schedule, go to www.lakehome andcabinshow.com.

Grow your own soup

For the first time, the Campbell Soup Co. is making available the specially cultivated seeds that result in Campbell's tomato soup. It's part of the company's goal to grow more than 1 billion tomatoes nationwide and to support American agriculture, teaming with the National FFA Organization and Urban Farming Inc. Through June 21 (or while supplies last), buy any Campbell's condensed soup and enter the code on the can at HelpGrowYourSoup.com to request a free packet of tomato seeds. Campbell began growing tomatoes from its own seeds on New Jersey farms during the 1930s. Those "Jersey" tomatoes were so renowned that when truckloads were delivered to the Campbell facility in Camden, people followed and picked up fallen tomatoes from the streets.

TEXT BY KIM ODE