Wisconsin cheesemakers have been hard at work in America's Dairyland for over 160 years, so there are more than a few fun facts and stories about how they make their cheese. Here are five of my favorites!
1. Holland's Family Cheese - The cheesemakers at Holland's Family Cheese insist that their cows sleep on soft bedding and get cooled off with fans in the summer. The more pampered the cow, the better the cheese! They must be on to something because 6-9 month aged gouda from Holland's Family Cheese won Grand Champion at the 2013 World Championship Cheese Contest.
2. Cedar Grove Cheese- Cedar Grove takes special care to ensure that the cheesemaking process doesn't harm the environment, so they created what they call a "Living Machine". It's a greenhouse that uses microbes and plants to cleanse the water used in cheesemaking so it can be safely released back into the ecosystem.
3. Carr Valley Cheese- Master Cheesemaker Sid Cook comes up with new cheese creations for Carr Valley Cheese. On busy work days he sometimes puts a chocolate bar on his Swiss cheese sandwich. This crazy lunch inspired him to create Cocoa Cardona cheese- a creamy white cheese dusted with cocoa powder.
4. Babcock Hall Dairy- The Babcock Hall Dairy plant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was built in 1951, which makes it the oldest university dairy building in the United States.
5. Hook's Cheese - When you think of cheese, you probably don't think of romance, unless you are Tony and Julie Hook of Hook's Cheese Company. They were college sweethearts and have been making world famous aged cheddar together since 1976.
You can shop for all of the gourmet cheeses mentioned here online at Wisconsinmade.com. Some of them aren't available for shipping during the summer months, but with so many cheeses and cheese assortments to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect cheese gift.