Sara Hill did a splendid and informative presentation Sunday night with 6 Sprecher beers and 12 cheeses.
Hefe Weiss — Saxon Creamery Big Eds and Widmers Brick Spread
Amber Ale — Crescenza and Cedar Grove Mona
Mai Bock — Sartori Pastoral and Carr Valley Casa Bolo
IPA2 — Marieke Aged Gouda and Hemmings Peppercorn
Abbey Triple — Blue Mont Cave Aged Cheddar and Roelli Dunbarton Blue
Bourbon Barrel Doublebock — Seymour Ader Kase Reserve and Hooks’s Tilston Blue
Go Huskers! Nebraska native and cheesemaker Joe Burns makes fantastic artisan in southwestern WI at Brunkow. Since 1899, the Brunkow’s have been making cheese using milk from 24 farms, half of them are Amish. The majority of cheese is sold at Chicago’s farmers market. Joe also uses 5000 pounds of milk to make artisan cheese under the Fayette Creamery label as well as a single herd cheese. The Brun–uusto is a baked loaf in three flavors, served warm with a little bread, it is a winner. Can’t wait for it to arrive in Texas.
Master Cheesemaker Sid Cook holds four Masters in cheesemaking to include cheddar, fontina, and two mixed milk. He has been making cheese for the fourth generation of his family for the last 45 years; approximately 80 varieties. He operates three cheese factories and seven cheese stores in Wisconsin, most near La Valle as well as an online store. 10-12000 pounds of cheese are produced daily with milk from 30-35 local farms, picked up and delivered in his own trucks. The names are American original, trademarked with his own style. He purchases 70% of all the sheeps milk in Wisconsin from 30 sheep farms. His goat milk comes from 8 local goat farms. The area of La Valle is known as the Driftless Glacier part of the state, producing more flora in the fields than any other resulting in distinctive milk and cheese flavor. His latest project is a graziers cheddar of the four seasons, one for each time of the year.
At today’s tasting, we tried 12 cheeses not currently available to Texas but hopefully coming soon.
1. Smoked pepperjack with applewood
2. Smoked Billy Goat Blue
3. Black Goat Truffle
4. Smoked Fontina
5. Airco, cow, sheep, goat soft smoked cheese
6. Mellage, mixed milk blend
7. Sweet Vanilla Cardona
8. Virgin Pine Native Sheep
9. Ba Ba Blue, sheep
10. Apple Smoked Garlic Cheddar
11. Casa Bolo Mellage
12. Aged Gouda
13. (yesterday) Wildflower Cheddar
This afternoons two hour seminar on the cheese industry also featured a 6 course cheddar tasting. The average farm in Wisconsin has 100 cows with only one large corporate farm although some families own more than one farm.
Americans consume over 32 pounds if cheese a year, far behind the smaller country of Greece which consumes over 82 pounds a year per person. Why? Because the US mixes it with food whereas in most countries, the cheese stands alone. Wisconsin actually produces more mozzarella than cheddar. And specialty cheeses make up for 17% of all cheese production. It is a $24 million dollar industry for the state. 26% of all the cheese in the US comes from Wisconsin. Over 700 varieties of cheese are produced with every cheesemaker being licensed by the state.
Fun Fact 1: every type of milk contains lactose, cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, ect.
After 60 days of aging, it is broken down enough not to harm anyone with a lactose or milk allergy.
Fun Fact 2: the cheese in sausages, for example, a cheddar bratwurst, the cheese is made with rennet from a camel which holds up well with high heat cooking
Thomas, Charles, Mark and George Crave each take of a certain part if the farm responsibility. Over 1700 acres and 1200 cows produce 100000 pounds of milk daily also producing 10000 pounds of cheese daily. Milking takes place three times a day, 24 hours a day, every day. The milk is stored in tanks and pumped underground across the road to the cheese plant. All the corn, alfalfa and soy beans are grown on property and all the cows begin their life here for a true farmstead cheese. The greenest feature of the farm is the anerobic manure processor which heats all the animal manure to 105 degrees for the microbial breakdown producing methane gas. This powers the engine creating all the electricity for the farm and cheese plant as well as 300 area homes.
We had a great lunch in their tasting room featuring mozzarella, fresh mascarpone and my favorite Les Freres, a soft ripened, aromatic cheese.
The Widmer family started making cheese in 1905. In 1922, Joe Widmer’s grandfather purchased the site of today’s home to Widmer cheese in Theresa WI. Back then there were about 130 cheesemakers in the county. Now there are about 130 in the whole state. The American original Brick cheese was started here to please the local German farmers and the original bricks are still used today in the authentic method. A washed rind cheese and aged, the authentic Colby is also made here by Joe Widmer, also a Master Cheesemaker. The 10 year old cheddar is just about to be released to the rest of the United States.
Partners with the Swiss company Emmi, Roth Kase has over 40 cheeses but are most known for the gruyeres. We tried seven today after an extensive tour. The Grand Cru Surchoix was the favorite with the Le Gruyere Reserve a close second. The fondue and imported Kirsch for lunch were superb.