Cheese

The magic of cheese

Here's to you, cheese. You wonder of wonders, you fountain of flavor, and chameleon of texture. We are in awe how, with three simple ingredients – milk, salt, and culture – you transform into more than 1,800 different cheese experiences. Everything you touch turns to gold. Baked dough becomes pizza, plain pasta becomes beloved mac and cheese, and bland bread becomes the best-grilled cheese sandwich ever. Grating and sprinkling you adds flavor to any dish. Warm you and you grace any beer cheese dip or fondue recipe. All-powerful cheese, is there anything you can't do?

In Wisconsin, we know the magic of cheese quite well – we've been under its spell for generations. You won't find a bigger champion of cheese anywhere in the world or cheesemakers who have won more championships than ours. Most importantly, you won't find tastier, higher-quality cheese than in Wisconsin. No need to thank us – it's our humble contribution to the world of cheese.

Let's hook your cheese up

Cheese is amazing on its own, but pair it with wine or charcuterie and you've opened the door to a whole new universe of flavor.

Here are a few tips for making the perfect match for your favorite cheese.

When pairing cheese with wine:

  • Match intensity. Big, bold, wines need big-flavored cheeses, while younger and lighter varietals do best with younger milder cheeses.
  • Complement or contrast textures. A rich, creamy cheese blends nicely with a buttery, oaky white wine, but the acidity and effervescence in sparkling wine can create a welcome contrast.
  • Mix salty and sweet. The high salt content in cheeses like ricotta salata, blue cheese, or an aged gouda can be balanced nicely by a sweet wine.
  • Keep it close to home. Wine and cheese made from the same region often pair well.

When pairing cheese with meats:

  • Start close to home. Pairing cheese with meat from the same region is a good place to start. For example, parmigiano reggiano pairs well with prosciutto di parma.
  • Contrast textures. A soft or spreadable cheese pairs more easily with a hefty cured sausage than with a thin, buttery slice of meat. A great example of this is, burrata with salami.
  • Contrast acidity. A nutty creamy cheese will pair nicely with a tart and citrusy cut of meat, like a cured sausage.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs about cheese

How is cheese made?

Cheese is made by separating the liquid or whey in milk from the solids or curds. This separation is caused by gently heating the milk and adding a culture – usually a bacteria or rennet – to curdle the milk. After the curd is firm or "set", it may be salted and cut, stacked and/or pressed into molds to release more whey. The cheese may be aged for a few days to a few years – the variations in the cheesemaking process are what allow cheesemakers to produce so many different variations.

What is stinky cheese?

Stinky cheese is a washed-rind cheese with a strong, pungent smell caused by bacteria that cheesemakers encourage to grow on the exterior of the cheese. While the smell of stinky cheese can be strong, the bacteria cause chemical reactions that help to give this soft cheese a complex, nutty, and buttery flavor.

What is fresh cheese?

Fresh cheese is cheese that is not aged and intended to be eaten soon after it is made. Milder than aged cheese, fresh cheese usually has a creamy, salty, and tangy taste. Fresh cheese can range from creamy and spreadable to soft and stretchy to delicate and crumbly.

What makes some cheese melt better than others?

Moisture, fat content, acidity, and the age of cheese all affect the way a cheese will melt. The high moisture content of mozzarella, that famous pizza cheese, allows it to melt quickly, while older, dryer cheeses like parmesan will not. Acid-curdled cheeses like paneer or bread cheese do not melt, while a high-fat cheese like cheddar is an excellent melter.

In Wisconsin, we speak cheese

Cheese may have originated in countries all over the world, but no one speaks the language of cheese better than Wisconsin. Cheese is in our DNA – we've been making cheese here since before we were even a state. Cheese is in our hearts, too – as a state, there's nothing we love more than eating cheese with our meals, unless it's eating cheese between meals. And cheese is in our heads – we're obsessed with finding more ways to make it, cook it, and consume it.

So, whether you're a lover of cheese looking for the best cheese on the planet, or a dabbler looking to expand your horizons, in Wisconsin, we have the perfect cheese for you.

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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