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Archive for March, 2009

USA Today has quite sensibly published a story about the joys of driving rural Wisconsin in search of great cheese — great shout outs to Joe Widmer, Chalet Cheese Coop, Carr Valley, Arena Cheese and others.

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The 2009 US Championship Cheese contest announced their results, and the US Champion is John Griffiths from Sartori Foods in Antigo, WI, for his SarVecchio Parmesan. SarVecchio has long been one of our favorites – we had a great time meeting with Master Cheesemaker Larry Steckbauer at the Antigo plant – and it is wonderful to see this cheese get more recognition.

Wisconsin cheesemakers, and especially the Master Cheesemakers, are well represented on the winners lists from Cheddar to  surface ripened mixed milk cheeses.

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The Seymore dairy is making some fabulous blue cheese. Even if you think you don’t like blue cheese, they make some very sweet and mild blues that might change your mind. In general, the European-style blue cheeses they are making are based off of Gorgonzola and German styles, and not the pungent Stiltons or English styles. For a real treat, find the Ader Kase Reserve.

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Last winter I had the opportunity to drive to southern Wisconsin and photograph Willi Lehner of Bleu Mont Dairy. Willi has constructed a cheese cave on his property where he ages his bandaged Cheddars and a few other things.

First of all, if you ever get a chance to try the Bleu Mont caved aged cheeses, take it. His Cheddars are extremely flavorful without being bitter, and he has been working on a newer washed rind/bandaged cheddar that is phenomenal. Willi is really innovating with cheeses, and he has probably the most interesting cheese cave in the state!

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We recently had the opportunity to go to the unveiling of a cheese produced by Faribault Dairy with Summit Brewing Company. The ideas was to combine blue cheese with beer, and the result was “Winter Blues” which was sold as a limited run at local Lunds and Byerly’s.

The taste was quite similar to Faribault’s Amablu cheese, which is naturally cave aged in their naturally occurring sandstone caves. The cheese had been soaked in the winter ale from Summit, which gave it a little bitter and earthy flavor on the rind.

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