The Pride of Generations in Wisconsin
Championship Teams and Championship Cheeses
Ask native Wisconsinites what it is about their state that makes them proud, and many will likely respond, “The Green Bay Packers.” Others, especially those with discerning culinary tastes, will mention the fine cheeses produced here. The state is known both as “Packerland” and “Dairyland.” The two entities have something else in common besides the state they share – World Championships. The Packers have won more professional football world championships than any other team, and Wisconsin cheesemakers have won more awards than all other states combined at cheese championship competitions. Wisconsin’s cheesemakers have been refining their craft for more than 150 years. It truly is mind-blowing just how much big, bold flavor these artisans can coax from one basic ingredient – milk.
Some cheese stands alone in its ability to evoke a memorable sensory experience. The complexity of flavors, the superb mouthfeel, the high satiety rating (just a little bit of cheese provides great satisfaction) all make it one of the most revered discoveries in the food world. Chefs use the wealth of varieties as dynamic flavor ingredients, as the piece de resistance atop everything from pizza and pasta to burgers, and as a stand-alone cheese course. Cheese plays nice in the kitchen. It makes friends with nearly everything else in the food chain. It complements other foods, is a fabulous trend carrier and like a fine actor, makes everything around it perform better.
Wisconsin’s Master Cheesemakers are in a class all their own. They must have 10 years’ experience before applying for the program, which involves a rigorous three-year course. Sid Cook, of Carr Valley Cheese is the most decorated Master Cheesemaker in the world. Farmstead cheesemakers are another feather in Wisconsin’s cap. They produce cheese from a single herd of cows, often in creameries located on the same farm that produces the milk. One example is Uplands Cheese, manufacturer of Pleasant Ridge Reserve, the most awarded cheese in American history.
Classic Romance -- A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine . . . and Cheese
Certain classic foods are evocative of romance and worthy of indulgence -- chocolate, oysters, caviar, foie gras, crusty artisanal bread. Perhaps the most romantic gastronomic tryst is the perfect pairing of fine cheeses with wines – a true classic match. Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is the promotional arm of the renowned Wisconsin dairy industry and its 600 varieties, types and styles of simply amazing cheeses. The board has beneficently shared its vast research into pairing the world’s favorite cheeses with wines. Beer is also referenced for the legions of beer lovers out there. Consider using this valuable information to impress your sophisticated customers:
Wines: Beaujolais, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz, Pinot Noir, sparkling wines and Champagne, Chardonnay, Riesling, Madeira, Port
Beers: pale ales and fruit beers
Wines: Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chianti, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Red Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz, sparkling wines and Champagne, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Sake
Beers: bock, brown ale, lager, pale ale, porter, stout
Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah/Shiraz, Chianti, Merlot, Champagne, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Sake
Beers: Lager, Pale Ale, Pilsner, Stout, Weiss
Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Red Zinfandel, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
Beers: Belgian ale, brown ale, bock, pale ale, porter, stout, Weiss, fruit beers
Wines: Beaujolais, Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Red Zinfandel, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
Beers: pilsner, lager, Weiss, fruit beers
Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay
Beers: pale ale, lager, Weiss
Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Red Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz, Riesling, Madeira, Port
Beers: Belgian ale, porter, stout, Weiss, fruit beers
Important Tip: When serving a cheese course, instruct diners to sample the mildest cheeses first, ending with the most robust.