6 Wisconsin Original Cheeses You Need to Try
Tips

6 Wisconsin Original Cheeses You Need to Try

A look at six cheeses that were born and bred in Wisconsin, combining Old World cheesemaking traditions with America's innate restlessness to innovate.


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 make it out to explore Wisconsin 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 Original?

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 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 the stories of six extraordinary home-bred heroes.

Cupola


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.

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 must-try.

Muenster


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 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.

Marbled Blue-Jack


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.

Colby


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, it’s lacy, it’s a perfect melter, and with a salty-sweet taste that is perfectly balanced (as all things should be), it makes everything you put with it tastier.

Colby-Monterey Jack


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.

BellaVitano®


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!

Conclusion

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.

Comments

Leave A Comment