Pasture Pride Juusto and Guusto Baked Cheeses

May 24, 2010

Last week in Wisconsin, one of the stops we made on the Wisconsin Cheese Tour was a Cheese Trade Show in Madison where The Lady participated in “speed cheesing”; spending between 10 and 15 minutes with a cheesemaker and then moving on… to the next cheesemaker. One of the companies with whom The Lady met was Pasture Pride, a cheese factory in SW Wisconsin owned by Kevin and Kim Everhart.  Master Cheesemaker, Tom Torkleson, whom The Lady also met, makes their fine line of cheeses, which include Cheddars, Muenster, Colby Pepper Jack, Natural Valley Artisan Cheeses and their unique “Baked Cheese”, Juusto. All of these cheeses are made from rBST-free cow milk. They also make a goat version of Juusto, named Guusto.

These folks buy their milk from the Amish dairy farmers in the area, which is delivered to the factory in chilled milk cans… the old-fashioned way.

Representing Pasture Pride at the trade show was Bentley Lein, who offered samples of their complete line of cheeses, including the Juusto, which he sautéed and served warm. It was a hit.

Reminiscent of Halloumi (made from sheep milk), this cheese is low in fat which makes it a perfect grilling cheese. It gets gooey but it doesn’t melt.

Juusto is a buttery-flavored, flat, squeaky cheese that has been made in Scandinavia for more than 200 years. It is called Juusto-leipa” or “Ostbrod”, which means “bread cheese”.

After the cheese is made, Pasture Pride bakes each piece to create a sweet caramelized, toasted crust similar to a brown bread.

Bentley was kind enough to give The Lady a package of the Juusto and the goat version, Guusto, to bring home and serve to The Man and your favorite Feline Foodie (that would be me).

The Man built a charcoal fire on the deck grill and while the coals were heating up, The Lady cleaned and sautéed some local, fresh asparagus spears to serve with the cheeses.

After grilling, The Lady cut the Juusto into squares and the Guusto into strips to distinguish the two for tasting.

The Man took the first bite and after he stopped swooning, he declared, “WOW!! This is great. I can eat this forever.”  That was the Juusto. Then he sampled the Guusto and once again, there was some serious swooning before he declared it a winner as well.

Here’s what I think. This is killer cheese. Both the cow version and the goat version. Even The Lady liked the goat version and we all know how few goat cheeses capture her favorably. You do notice the “goat” tang but it is quite pleasing. The charcoal flavor added just the right amount of smoke to the cheese.

The Lady is hoping that the corporate honchos will approve these cheeses for selling on the cheese island at the store. It would be less expensive than the Halloumi and because it is offered in cow and goat milk, the three would be the trifecta of grilling cheeses.

At the trade show, The Lady also sampled the Italian Juusto and the “Pocket” Juusto (stuffed with cheddar) and tells me these are both winners as well. The pocket version is like a grilled cheese without bread… perfect for the cheese lover; cheese stuffed with cheese… it juusto doesn’t get any better…

Did I mention it squeaks? Well, it does, just like cheese curds. This squeaking thing causes visions of Mus musculus to dance before my eyes… but I prefer the Juusto and Guusto… less hunting…

I give Juusto and Guusto 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: These cheeses can be served as appetizer, entrée or dessert. Top it with mushrooms, asparagus or grilled onions. As a dessert, serve it with jam or honey or Ficoco Spread.

Wine Pairing: A nice Pinot Gris would pair well with this cheese.

Beer Pairing: Full-bodied dark beer.

Source: Juusto is from cow milk and Guusto comes from the goat.

Awards: We found references to awards, but nothing specific.

FTC Full Disclosure – The cheesemaker/manufacturer sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.

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