Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spending Saturday with Cheesemakers

This past weekend was the second annual Wisconsin Cheese Festival put on by Jeanne of Wisconsin Cheese Originals. At the last minute I had my time off request approved and was super excited to spend three days in Wisconsin gorging myself on cheese.

Unfortunately (for me and everyone else who waited until the last minute) every single seminar I wanted to go to was completely sold out, including the 'Meet the Cheesemaker' event on Saturday night. Fortuntately, Jeanne read the desperation in my email plee and had a ticket waiting for me at the door. Huzzah!

One of the reasons I was so excited for this event is that Uplands Cheese was going to be offering samples of their brand new cheese called Rush Creek. I'm not going to talk about that cheese in this post except to share with you a poorly taken picture of the packaging, and to let you know that one of the benefits of working in a cheese shop is that a wheel is already set aside at the store for me. I am going to buy it, bring it home, turn the lights down low, light a few candles, pop on some Barry White and...well you know what happens when you put on Barry.

Okay, enough about Rush Creek. One of the great things about an event like this is not just getting an opportunity to taste those cheeses that you love, but to meet some new cheesy friends as well.

One of my favorite cheese experiences came at the Chalet Cheese Cooperative makers of both Limburger and the cheese recently resurrected from extinction, Liederkranz*. Both cheeses are very similar. They're both smear-ripened, soft, creamy cheeses that bring the funk to any party. Due to a different bacteria added to the Liederkranz, this cheese ripens a lot faster than Limburger. I did a taste comparison with a cheese sample of each that had been aged for two months. The Limburger was a bit chewy, very milky, a bit salty, and had just started to get stinky. The two month old Liederkranz on the other hand was already turning into a silky, creamy funk-bomb. It was beefy, a bit fruity, sweet and absolutely delicious. Just writing about it is making me wish I'd brought some home with me. Dammit.

Another new cheese I tried was from a company I'd not heard of before. Harmony Specialty Foods had a 1 year aged Caerphilly. Sooo good. Crumbly, lemony and yoghurty it was just a perfect little nibble of goodness.

Meinlese is a still-in-the-works cheese from Seymour Dairy that is being billed as a Cheddar Blue. Aged for 5 months it has a big saltiness upfront, but then it mellows into a sort of buttery blue with a Cheddary acidity. If the first batch is any indication I'll absolutely be adding it to my ever-growing list of nummy cheeses.

All and all, Saturday was a great evening. I gorged myself on cheese and good company. Congratulations to Jeanne for another successful festival. See you next year!

*Liederkranz is made at the Chalet Cheese Cooperative, but DCI Cheese Company actually owns the name and from what I understand does all the distribution of one of my new favorite stinky cheeses.


DCI Cheese Company said...

Liederkranz is available online at Glad to hear you enjoyed it!


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