You may already
know that Wisconsin is famous for making artisan cheeses, but did you know that some of world’s most beloved cheeses were created by Wisconsin Cheesemakers?
All the cheeses on this
list were born right here in America’s Dairyland. If you can’t come to Wisconsin to explore these cheeses in person, trying these cheeses is a pretty good virtual
vacation. To learn all about our Wisconsin Original Cheeses, read on.
What does it mean to be a Wisconsin
Here in Wisconsin, we take our cheese
seriously and so do our Master Cheesemakers. Combining the world’s best milk with time-honored
technique and global inspiration, Master Cheesemakers are constantly innovating
in pursuit of ever-better cheese.
That’s why Wisconsin is nicknamed “America’s
Dairyland”—we’re on the cutting wedge of cheesemaking. These Wisconsin Original
cheeses weren’t just created in Wisconsin, they were born out of a true love
and appreciation of cheese. And we’re pretty sure you can taste the difference.
Hungry to learn more? While it would take us a lifetime to give a detailed description of every Wisconsin Original, here are stories of six extraordinary home-state heroes.
Cupola is an all-American
crowd-pleaser: the quarterback and Homecoming King of the cheese world. Red
Barn Family Farms named this award-winning
semi-hard cheese after the pinnacle of traditional Wisconsin barns. Cupola was perfected over a three-year time period (good things come to
those who wait!) in partnership with the Center for Dairy Research at
UW-Madison. Using milk sourced from seven micro-dairies in a unique recipe blending the best of gouda and parmesan, Cupola has been capturing hearts and taste buds since stepping onto the world stage in 2014. You could even say Cupola is a show-topper...
The hard work paid off with a fruity, nutty, caramel-y cheese that
boasts notes of toasted pineapple. If you love rolling green hills,
old-fashioned wooden barns, and community-driven family farms, Cupola is a
Muenster was created by French
immigrants who settled in Wisconsin in the 19th century. These
immigrants quickly set forth to recreate the French Munster cheese that was
famous in their homeland. But what started as an imitation quickly grew into a
tasty and new variety of cheese, delicious in its own right, Wisconsin Muenster.
Wisconsin Muenster is a semi-soft cheese with a red-orange rind—a result of the
annatto used during the cheesemaking process. This full-flavored cheese is in
the same family as limburger and brick. All of these use similar bacteria that create a distinctive aroma.
Muenster melts beautifully, making it a flavor bomb destined for pizza, grilled
cheeses, macaroni and cheese, or cheeseburgers.
If you did a double take when you first
saw this cheese, you’re not alone. It’s pretty spectacular. Award-winning marbled
blue-jack really is the best of both worlds: creamy,
meltable jack cheese combined with the flavor and tang of a mild blue
cheese. This cheese was developed and trademarked by Nasonville Dairy Master Cheesemakers Ken Heiman and Tom Torkelson.
If you’re a blue skeptic, don’t
worry—marbled blue-jack is intense without being overbearing. It was crafted for meltability and adds a decadent blue cheese flavor to burgers and steaks while melting down more smoothly, like a creamy jack cheese.
We truly do love all of our cheeses equally here in Wisconsin, but if there were an official state cheese, many believe that Colby would be the ultimate frontrunner.
This Wisconsin Original was first created in the late 1800s by Wisconsinite Joseph Steinwand in the town of Colby, and it perfectly encapsulates how Wisconsin’s Cheesemakers approach their art: respect
for tradition balanced with a tireless pursuit of innovation.
Colby is often described as a milder form of cheddar, and while the cheese making processes are quite similar, the two cheeses do have characteristic differences in texture and flavor profile.
Colby is tender, lacy, a perfect melter, and its salty-sweet taste is so perfectly balanced (as all things should be), that it makes everything you put with it tastier.
When you want the flavor of
Colby with an even creamier, meltier texture, you can never go wrong with Colby-Monterey Jack (but call it colby-jack or co-jack if you want to show off
your Cheese Lover status.)
This stunning marbled cheese was born in 1979 at Arena Cheese, one of Wisconsin's oldest factories, located in the Wisconsin River Valley within the lush, green, rolling hills of the Spring Green area. Arena's cheesemakers have crafted co-jack in the same location with the same recipe and cheesemaking techniques since its discovery more than three decades ago.
Co-jack combines Colby and Monterey Jack, two delicate
and mild cheeses, to create an equally mellow hybrid that suits any taste bud. Pile this
cheese anywhere—salads, sandwiches, cheeseboards—or just enjoy it by itself.
We know, we know—it seems like a BellaVitano
makes it onto every list we make of must-try Wisconsin Cheeses, and for good reason. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy BellaVitano at your table, you’ve just corralled yourself a unique piece of time-honored Wisconsin culture. Savor it.
This Wisconsin Original is one of Sartori Company’s flagship cheeses, and it has won a trophy case full of national and international awards since its creation in 1999. It’s often hand-rubbed or soaked with an array of flavors like Black Pepper, Espresso, Chai, Merlot, Citrus Ginger, and many more.
Inspired by Italian farmstead cheese, this cheese has a nutty, fruity flavor and a texture that combines the creaminess of cheddar with the crystalline crunch of a premium farmstead parmesan. If you haven’t tried it yet, this is your sign!
Discover your favorite Wisconsin Original
Ready to enjoy some Wisconsin Originals? Add them into one of our cheeseboard
recipes, like this Artisan Cheddar Cheese Board or this Wisconsin Cheese and
Charcuterie Board. If you want to cook a full meal, try our selection of over 400 handcrafted recipes featuring Wisconsin Cheese. Share your
creation with us on Instagram or Facebook and become part of the largest cheese community in the world!
Want to make cheese pairing even easier? You can plan your cheese board ahead of time and get
your favorite Wisconsin Cheeses 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.