Ever wondered what Machu Picchu or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were missing? Cheese. Because what’s an awe-inspiring wonder without cheese?
That’s why we’ve put together the 9 Wonders of Wisconsin: cheesy facts that are bound to surprise and impress—and maybe make you a little hungry for cheese. Cheese is an enormous part of Wisconsin’s history and future, and we can’t wait to share it with you (maybe over a cheese board or two).
#1: United States of Cheese
There’s a reason when you think of Wisconsin, you think of cheese. Even though Wisconsin is just one state of 50, we craft nearly half of the nation's specialty cheese!
From curds to cheddar, blue to brick, Wisconsin cheesemakers can do it all. We like to blend tradition with innovation in order to create a wide variety of cheeses that you just can’t get anywhere else.
#2: The World’s Only Master Cheesemaker Program
You’ve heard of a Ph.D., but have you heard of a PhCheese? Otherwise known as the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Program, this rigorous study of cheese is an elite accomplishment earned by only 80 talented cheesemakers in Wisconsin. In fact, it’s one of only two such certifications in the whole world!
Becoming a Master Cheesemaker is basically a doctorate in a specific variety of cheese, with intense requirements to succeed. Learn about some of our Master Cheesemakers here.
#3: Championship Worthy Cheeses
Are you ready to turn your fridge into a trophy case? Wisconsin's cheeses have won over 5,500 awards, more than any other state in the nation or country in the world.
Enjoying a Wisconsin Cheese is basically winning a gold medal in culinary achievement. Set your mind at cheese—our award-winning cheeses are bound to put your cheese board on the podium.
#4: Licensed to Cheese
In Wisconsin, our makers are licensed to cheese. Seriously. Wisconsin is the only state that requires a license for cheesemaking. It’s no small feat, either: cheesemakers spend over a year taking classes, work for at least 240 hours interning under a licensed cheesemaker, and pass a written test.
Put another way: you need to really want to make cheese. With our licensing process, when you bite into a wedge of Wisconsin Cheese, you know it’s made with the ultimate skill and passion possible.
#5: 180 Years of Cheese Heritage
Here in Wisconsin, we’ve been making cheese for 180 years—even before we were a state! Now, that's a rind-blowing legacy.
Back in the mid-1800s, German, Swiss, Italian, Dutch, and Hispanic immigrants traveled to settle in the lush, green hills of Wisconsin, bringing their cheesemaking traditions with them. These storied skills combined with the freshest milk available created a cheese culture that is uniquely Wisconsin.
#6: Pioneering Cheese Innovation
Wisconsin is on the cutting “wedge” of cheese innovation. Did you know we make over 600 varieties of cheese?
In addition to cheeses that were born abroad, like alpine-style or juustoleipa, Wisconsinites are constantly developing new, delicious cheeses. Several cheeses, like brick, were born and bred right here in America’s Dairyland.
#7: We Do It Big
Imagine being a billionaire, but every dollar is a wheel of cheese (we like to imagine this often). Wisconsin produces over 3.37 billion pounds of cheese a year—1 out of every 4 pounds of cheese in the country.
Occasionally we’ll sing a riff on that old song, “If I Had a Billion Cheeses,” just because, well, we can.
#8: Hosting International Cheese Competitions
While every cheese is a winner in our book, competitions help cheesemakers prove their chops against their fellow artisans. Two of the most prestigious cheese competitions in the world take place in Wisconsin: The World Championship Cheese Contest and US Cheese Championship. Both are hosted by Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.
Just like the Olympics or the Superbowl, hosting these competitions is a huge honor! Learn all about how cheeses are evaluated and take a peek at some award-winners here.
# 9: World’s Largest Cheese Board
We’re not just famous for the quality of our cheese. We’re famous for the size! Wisconsin holds the Guinness World Record for the World's Largest Cheeseboard.
Spanning 35 feet long and 7 feet wide, the custom-made cheese board was officially adorned with 4,437 pounds and 145 different varieties, types, and styles of Wisconsin's unique specialty and artisan cheeses. This cheese board included national and international award-winners. What do you think: Is that enough cheese for one meal or two?
Ready to celebrate Wisconsin’s finest cheeses? Plan a cheese tasting right at home! Get cheese delivered right to your door with our continuously updated list of cheesemakers and retailers that allow you to order cheese online. Award-winning Wisconsin Cheese is just a click away.
Craving something else? Choose from our selection of over 400 recipes featuring Wisconsin Cheese. Don’t forget to share your creative cheesy creations with us on Facebook and Instagram.