Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wisconsin cheese: who knew?

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I've had wonderful American artisan cheese from California, Louisiana and Vermont, but for some reason, I always thought of Wisconsion cheese as plastic-wrapped blocks of cheddar that might be ok melted on a burger, but not much more. Apparently I was quite ignorant, as the Wisonsin Cheese Board recently visited Table 8 to introduce the state's wide range of cheeses to L.A., and I was very impressed with the selection. Some of the most interesting varieties come from Carr Valley Cheese, whose master cheesemaker Sid Cook was there to explain his cheeses. The top photo shows Carr Valley's Mobay, which combines sheeps and goats milk with a layer of ash in-between. Carr Valley has invented several new varieties of cheese, including goat's milk Cardona and Cocoa Cardona coated with cocoa powder.
I also enjoyed Winona's Montforte Blue, a creamy, luscious blue (pictured above) and its Gorgonzola, which would be great in salads.
Kirsten Jaeckle told us about her family cheesemakers, Roth Kase USA, descended from a long line of Swiss affineurs. Roth Kase had some wonderful cheeses including the manchego-style GranQueso, Vintage Van Gogh and Grand Cru Gruyere Reserve.
Studio City's Artisan Cheese Gallery carries several of these cheeses, so if you're assembling a cheese plate, consider some Wisconsin cheeses. They even tempted me with a 5 year aged cheddar which blew away any other cheddar I've tasted.


Jake said...

Being a Wisconsonite living in Los Angeles, I can tell you first hand, I miss the Wisconsin cheeses back home when I'm shopping in Los Angeles. I was shocked to hear what you had thought of WI cheese, but glad you were set straight! Also, WI dairy products cannot come from animals treated with hormones to produce more milk. Some good cheese I have run across out here on the West coast came from Oregon, but I forgot the name.

Anonymous said...

Check out the chocolates in wisconsin too.

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