Wisconsin Cheese Tour – Day 3 – Cheese Trade Show in Madison
May 18, 2010
After Salemville, the group continued south to Madison and ended their cheese day with a cheese trade show at the Middleton Courtyard by Marriott.
In what The Lady called “Speed Cheesing”, the group was divided into five small groups and spent ten minutes with representatives of several Wisconsin Cheese Companies.
They met with Klondike Cheese, a family-owned 4th generation cheese company that makes several varieties of feta. The company is owned by three brothers, all of whom are Master cheese makers. The company buys its cheese from 85 dairy farmers who all farm within 70 miles of the cheese factory. Their cheeses are made with both microbial and animal rennet and all of the cheeses are made from pasteurized cow milk. The Lady sampled the Mediterranean Feta and found it to be excellent. Nice and herby and salty the way you expect a fresh feta to be. The Buholzer Brothers also make Munster and Brick cheeses.
Next up was Carr Valley whose Master Cheesemaker has won more than 200 cheese awards worldwide; the most awards of any cheesemaker in the world. Carr Valley offers 80 different cheeses and makes use of cow, sheep and goat milks to create some exotic and wonderful cheeses. The Lady sampled several but wants to hold off reviewing them until she more time at home. Beth, the Carr Valley Sales Manager is sending a few wedges for the feline Foodie (that would be me) to sample and I’ll add my thoughts on these cheeses.
The third cheesemaker they met was Gerald Heimerl of Saxon Homestead Creamery. Gerald is the cheesemaker, salesman and chief bottle washer… and a terrific person. They sampled five of his cheeses and again, The Lady and I will review them in greater detail when we return to the Pacific Northwest. His cheeses include a Gouda-style cheese named “Big Ed” after his late father-in-law, a huge supporter of the cheesemaking endeavor; an Alpine-style; a Trappist-style washed-rind cheese; a cheddar and a goat milk gouda.
The next stop in speed cheesing was to visit with Bentley Lein, who represents the Amish Community in SW Wisconsin that makes Pasture Pride Cheeses. They sampled some Bread Cheese, a Finnish-style cheese similar to Halloumi. Bentley gave The Lady two samples for her to bring home for The Man and me to sample and then write a review. Bentley thanks so much… The lady says you’re the best!! In addition to the Bread Cheese line, Pasture Pride also has an organic line of cheeses and a line of goat cheeses.
Last, but not least, The Lady was happily surprised to find our friend, Randy Johnson at the Nasonville Dairy table where they met with Master Cheesemaker, Tom Torkleson. Tom has worked with Nasonville to make a blue Monterey Jack. The blue is pasteurized and inert, making it ideal for deli use and it is offered in loaves and slices. The cheese is creamy and the blue adds a nice edge without being overpowering. This would be an ideal cheese for hamburgers. In addition to this new cheese, which they also offer in a goat cheese version, they make a line of fetas that are creamy and not too salty. Nasonville makes cheese for Boar’s Head. Again, more once the trip is over.
The Lady asked me to thank all who were at the trade show; she appreciated them taking the time to introduce her and the group to all their cheeses.
Trivia: With yet another day to go, The Lady has sampled 55 cheeses so far…