Wisconsin specialty cheese - a delicious preview
I’m writing from lovely Madison, Wisconsin, on the way to the annual Kickapoo Country Fair, an outdoor fest hosted each summer by my friends at Organic Valley to talk about Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland. (Did I show you the book trailer yet?)
What better time to share with you a peek at what’s coming up from the fabulous dairy folk behind Wisconsin Cheese? I was invited to a tasting of writers and cheesemongers, and it was old home week. I ran into specialty cheese experts Lisa from Pastoral and Dave and Sam from the Standard Market, as well as blogger friends Kathy from Stresscake, Rob from The Local Beet and Gemma the Pro Bono Baker.
And we feasted
I’d say my highlight was reconnecting with Bob Wills of Cedar Grove Cheese. I met him on a Wisconsin cheese tour a few years ago and was smitten with his collegial approach to his community of cheese makers. Whereas cheese makers from regions in other countries view the guys up the road as competition, Bob brings cheese makers together by opening his facility to folks getting started. Rock star cheese makers like Mike Gingrich of Uplands Cheese Company and Willi Lehner of Bleu Mont Dairy got their start there.
And now Bob has ventured to the city, opening the Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee as that city’s only urban cheese making facility. We tasted quark, a delicious spreadable that Bob describes as a cross between cream cheese and sour cream. it’s there in the picture with small batch tart cherry preserves from Quince & Apple. We predict great things ahead from Bob and his team, and I’m sure the beer makers must be delighted to have a local companion for their brews.
We also met the lovely Katie Hedrich from LaClare Farms, delicious introducing goat/cow blends.
And we tasted amazing butter from Nordic Creamery, where Al Bekkum tells us that his butter now outsells cheese.
The evening was a delight, with cheeses from smooth and fresh to aged and bold, created by a dozen cheese makers from across the rolling hills of Wisconsin. I’m sure you’ll join me in salivating until these great foods hit the stores and farmers markets.
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