SKOWHEGAN,, Maine –- Gifford’s Ice Cream has won an unprecedented second overall grand champion award at the dairy industry’s most important competition, repeating the honor it earned in 2010. Gifford’s World’s Best Chocolate ice cream was named Grade A & Ice Cream Grand Champion at the 2011 World Dairy Expo, an honor it earned in 2010.

No other business has won the Grade A & Ice Cream Grand Champion award twice, much less in two consecutive years.

The World Dairy Expo is the only international judging contest of its kind, and is considered the dairy industry’s most important competition. According to the Word Dairy Expo, this year’s contest featured a record 705 entries in all categories.

Gifford’s, a fifth-generation, family-owned dairy also earned first place for French Vanilla ice cream, second place for Old Fashioned Vanilla and second place for Orange Sherbet.

Gifford’s World’s Best Chocolate is a four-time winner, earning the top spot in 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2007; Gifford’s Old Fashioned Vanilla earned first place in 2007; and Gifford’s Orange Sherbet earned top honors in 2008.

“This competition is the dairy industry’s Oscars. Everyone at Gifford’s is completely committed to making the best ice cream that we can,” Gifford’s Vice President of Sales Lindsay Gifford-Skilling said in a news release. “We are humbled and honored to earn this recognition. It affirms our passion for making great ice cream.”

The World Dairy Expo, held annually in Madison, Wis. since 1967, is the largest and most important dairy cattle show in North America and home to the world’s largest dairy trade show.

The World Dairy Expo Dairy Product Championship Contest is one of the largest contests of its type in the world, and the only contest in North America that evaluates and ranks all types of dairy products. The entrants are judged by dairy science professionals in blind tastings and judged on criteria that include flavor, body and texture, melting quality, color and appearance.

Gifford’s Ice Cream sources its fresh cream and milk exclusively from independent family farms in Maine. The company relies on antique 1940s Cherry Burrell freezers coupled with a state-of-the-art freezing system to achieve its award-winning, creamy texture and fresh-churned consistency. Gifford’s has earned numerous international and national First Place and World’s Best awards for its premium ice cream and sherbet, and continues to expand its distribution and offerings.

Available throughout New England at Hannaford locations, Shaw’s Supermarkets, and Roche Bros. Locations, and at King Kullen stores in New York, Gifford’s Ice Cream also is offered in several hundred ice cream stands throughout New England, New York and New Jersey, and is served at a growing number of locations, including Rutgers University and the University of Connecticut.