In a pageant for America's most popular cheese, cheddar would definitely take home the tiara. Even though it was born in a little town in England (the village of Cheddar, naturally), cheddar cheese today is a bona fide American phenom. That's because there's truly a cheddar for everyone. From young and mellow to aged and flaky, flavored with pepper or rubbed with lavender – there's a whole universe of flavors and texture is to explore in this delicious cow's milk cheese.
And you know who cheddar cheese can thank for its VIP status? Wisconsin. As America's premier cheesemakers for the past 175 years, we've done more with cheddar than England ever dreamed of. From perfecting centuries-old cheddaring techniques, to developing new hybrids like cheddar blue, it's only in the hands of Wisconsin cheesemakers that cheddar's star has really risen. In Wisconsin, some of our master cheese makers are aging cheddar cheeses for up to 20-years. Trust us when we say, you won't find that in many places outside of Wisconsin! So next time you're hankering for a hunk of America's little pageant winner, make sure your cheddar cheese is from Wisconsin.
From soft to hard and mild to sharp, cheddar cheese comes in so many varieties, it's easy to pair it with the perfect beverage or meat and cheese board partners.
The full-flavored sharpness of aged cheddar, for example, is best enjoyed with hearty fare like warm grain salads, winter soups, or big peppery green salads. Aged cheddar loves a little sticky sweetness, too, so we often serve it with honey, homemade jam, or apricot marmalade. For beers, try something that can hold its own with the strong flavor of this aged cheese – a saison ale, cider, or bock will do nicely. And for wine, you can't go wrong with a glass of riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir, or chianti.
A milder young cheddar cheese goes with just about anything – it's perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches at lunch or melted over nachos on a movie night. Pilsners and pale ales are the perfect match for young cheddar, and chardonnay, pinot gris, rosé, or merlot make a great wine and cheese pairing.
Then there's cheddar blue cheese, a whole class of Wisconsin originals with more personality than most cheddar cheese, but less sharpness than most blues. There's nothing better than a freshly grilled burger capped with a thick slice of blue cheddar cheese, and these potent hybrids pair beautifully with fruit beers and ciders as well as cabernets and chiantis.
Cheddar cheese is a wide-ranging category of cheeses that includes everything from milder, younger cheddars to aged cheddar cheese and hybrid products like cheddar blue. Cheddar cheese is made with a special process called cheddaring that is designed to remove moisture and add acidity, giving cheddar cheese its stronger flavor and denser texture.
Cheddaring is the process of cutting the cheese curds into blocks, then stacking them and turning them repeatedly to remove more whey and moisture from the cheese.
Cheddar blue is a hybrid cheese that combines the technique of cheddaring with the process of culturing used to produce blue cheeses.
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Here's a little tip for the next time you're checking out the cheddar cheese in your local grocery aisle: keep an eye out for the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese badge on the label. When you see that mark, you know you're looking at the best cheddar cheese you can buy.
For 175 years, since before Wisconsin was even a state, we been making cheese with traditions so rich you can taste it. Wisconsinites like to have fun, but we take our cheese seriously – we're the only state that requires our cheesemakers to complete an apprenticeship and get a license, and we have the only Master Cheesemaker program in the world outside of Switzerland. (Tip #2 – look for the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker emblem on the label to sample their work.)
Simply put, we think we make darn good cheese. And the world agrees – how else could we win more awards (5,552) than anybody else? That's what you get in a place where an entire state dreams in cheese.
Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?
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In Wisconsin, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese than anywhere else in the world. We believe in tradition, producing everything from Italian classics, like parmesan and ricotta, to swiss cheese and cheddar varieties. But every Wisconsin cheesemaker is an innovator as well, which is why we have so many Wisconsin originals, like colby and muenster. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, potatoes au gratin, or a charcuterie board, Wisconsin cheese makes every dish and recipe tastier.