Wisconsin – Day 2 – BelGioioso – Bellevue Plant

May 1, 2009

Marcella and Gaetano

Marcella and Gaetano

After the tour of the Chase Plant, we traveled to BelGioioso’s Bellevue Plant, also in the middle of nowhere.

This Plant makes that divine Burrata cheese that Spaulding gray reviewed recently. 

Again, we were divided into two groups. I was lucky enough to be in the group led by Gaetano, the son of the founder of BelGioioso. Gaetano was three when his parents immigrated to the US to make Italian cheeses in America. When Gaetano learned of Spaulding Gray’s love of Burrata, he was quite impressed by SG’s “expensive and refined tastes”.

The tour began with the fresh mozzarella. We watched the entire process from adding the starter to slicing (into sixteen slices)and packaging of the fresh one pound log  – perfect for Caprese salad.

Next we watched the making of provolone. We toured the aging room – thousands of cylinders and specialty shapes including pyramids and pear-shaped were hanging.

We also toured the room where ricotta and their newer item, ricotta salata are made. BelGioioso makes their ricotta salata with cow’s milk rather than sheep. And SG’s suspicions were confirmed when Gaetano stated that they used cows’ milk because there were almost no sheep in Wisconsin.

After the tour, we were taken to the corporate offices and treated to lunch and what a lunch it was. We started with a cheese plate that had Burrata, Mascarpone, Provolone, Asiago, Parmesan, Fresh Mozzarella and creamy gorgonzola. On the table were wedges and containers of all their other cheeses and we were encouraged to taste them. It didn’t take much to encourage these cheeseheads. We tried American Grana, Tiramisu Mascarpone, Italico, Crescenza-Stracchino, Pepato and several others.

After the wonderful cheese plate, which really could have been a meal itself, we were served a field green salad with sugared walnuts and gorgonzola, Pizza Marguerite, farfalla pasta with Fontina, asparagus and mushrooms, and baked tenderloin. The meal ended with my favorite, Tiramisu…bellissimo!!

It was quite a wonderful morning hanging with the BelGioioso (pronounced Bell Joy Oh So)…arrivederci to a wonderful family of cheeses…we will meet again soon…most likely this evening…our parting gift was a thermal carrying case that contained a half pound wedge of American Grana…

Up Next: Day 3 – Roth Kase and Cheesemaking 101

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