Border Battle: Minnesota and Wisconsin artisanal cheeses
This year, we’re highlighting local favorites from Minnesota and Wisconsin cheesemakers. Spoiler alert: they’re all winners in our book!
Meet the cheeses:
Alemar Cheese Co. Sakatah
· Made by cheesemakers Craig Hageman and Alexandra Adams in the Food Building in Northeast Minneapolis.
· This cheese gets its name from the Dakota word meaning “singing hills.”
· Sakatah is a soft-ripened 100% grass fed cows’ milk cheese that’s wrapped in brandy-pickled Minnesota grape leaves.
· The cheese has spice and peppery notes on the palate with an earthiness.
· Seasonally available in the fall and winter.
· Pairings: For wines, we recommend dry sparkling wines, prosecco, or champagne. For beers, try a lager, wheat beer or farmhouse style.
Redhead Creamery Tipsy Tilsiter
· Made in Brooten, Minnesota by cheesemaker Alise Sjostrom.
· Tilister – or Tilsit – originated in Switzerland and Germany and is known to be a full-flavored, smear-rinded table cheese.
· Readhead Creamery’s version is smeared – or washed – with Flora, a hard cider crafted at Milk & Honey Ciders in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
· The aroma and yeast from the Flora cider results in a unique fermented flavor.
· Pairings: Try with a dry cider or melt on sandwiches and quesadillas and enjoy with apples and pears.
St. Mary’s Gouda
· This outstanding Gouda is made in Wisconsin and cave-aged in Minnesota in the Caves of Faribault for over 12 months.
· This Wisconsin born Gouda is hand-crafted by master cheesemaker Bruce Workman of Edelweiss Creamery
· The cave aging results in a smooth, buttery sharpness with just a hint of caramel.
· Pairings: For wines, we recommend a Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay. For beers, try a saison or Schwarzbier. St. Mary’s Gouda is perfect on a cheeseboard or melted into mac & cheese or au gratin potatoes.
Widmer 2 Year Cheddar
· Crafted in Theresa, Wisconsin by Joe Widmer – owner and third generation master cheesemaker, and his son, Joey Widmer.
· This sharp cheddar uses both traditional Wisconsin and European cheesemaking techniques, including a process known as “cheddaring.”
· Pairings: We recommend amber lagers, apples, spicy mustards and pretzels. When cooking, add to soups, sauces or grilled cheeses!
Marieke Truffle Gouda
· Holland’s Family Cheese is an award-winning cheesemaker located in Thorp, Wisconsin.
· They use the freshest cow’s milk available. In fact, milk is used within five hours of milking, which results in an extra creamy, velvety smooth texture.
· The Marieke Truffle Gouda combines their traditional fresh Gouda with black truffles and truffle oil. It’s then aged for six months on traditional Dutch pine planks.
· Pairings: We recommend American pale ales, hard ciders or Pinto Gris. Try it shredded on pasta or eggs or on a cheeseboard with mustard, olives, honey and cured meats.
Carr Valley Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar
· Made in La Valle, Wisconsin, by Sid Cook, fourth generation master cheesemaker. Car Valley is owned and operated by the Cook family.
· This cow’s milk white cheddar is studded with tart dried cranberries and smokey chipotle peppers for added dimension. The heat comes on after for a warm finish!
· Pairings: We recommend a crisp rose, lager or tequila. When used in cooking, it makes an outstanding grilled cheese, turkey sandwich or panini. It’s also delicious when paired with apple slices.
Looking for some cheeseboard inspiration? Here’s our quick how-to template for building a cheeseboard, or our guide for creating the ultimate cheeseboard. Plus, a specialty cheeseboard guide – complete with a recipe for Spiced Cranberry Jam.
If you want more ideas, inspiration, or recommendations, stop by our cheese department and talk to a cheese specialist.