CHOW Magazine has published a cheese primer drawn from our research for The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin.
If the simple act of cooking food is a wonder, cheese is a miracle. The application of salt, enzymes, bacteria, heat, and time transforms ordinary milk into an enormous variety of forms. From evanescent queso fresco and ricotta to more enduring varieties such as cheddar and Parmesan, cheese can be sweet or pungent, hard or spreadable, chalky or smooth, musky or bright—like wine and beer, it offers a seemingly infinite range of experiences.
“Right away, I fell in love with it,” recalls Gianni Toffolon, one of Wisconsin’s 43 active certified master cheesemakers. The art of cheesemaking captivated Toffolon during his childhood in Cremona, Italy. “It’s like a mason, you know, who takes simple bricks and makes beautiful things.”