Cheese Lovers Paradise FOUND!

 

I LOVE WI CheeseAs the next stop on our cheese ventures, we recently traveled to Cedar Valley Cheese Store and Factory, located in Belgium, Wisconsin.  I was a little apprehensive, since the first cheese store we visited was much smaller and more quaint, while still making VERY delicious cheese.  This was in stark contrast to the factory feel that we saw here:

Cedar Valley Cheese Factory

I posed by their sign for fun, since Daddy O. had done the honors in our last cheese store visit. Here’s the big sign just across from the towers in the parking lot:

Cedar Valley Cheese StoreWho knew that their specialty was fine Italian cheese?  This made me feel better – reassured, actually.  Plus there were A LOT of people going inside of the store on this crisp Fall Saturday morning.  Let’s see what they have…

Cheese galore at Cedar Valley Cheese Store

We discovered CHEESE PARADISE!!  They had varieties from other Wisconsin cheesemakers, their own unique cheeses, HUGE wax covered wheels of cheese, and plenty of samples.  AMAZING!! We had a hard time deciding what to choose, so we started off with some samples of blueberry cobbler cheddar (yum), maple syrup cheddar (kind of a breakfast cheese), cranberry cinnamon cheddar (very festive), smoked gouda (so good-a), cherry infused cheese (mild tasting), and caramel cheese (dessert)!   Ultimately, we opted to stick with Cedar Valley Cheese, buying a 6 Year Old Cheddar, Applewood smoked cheddar, and ranch flavored cheese curds.

Sampling Cedar Valley Cheese CurdsDelicious Cedar Valley Cheese Curds

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the ranch cheese curds were a hit.  We had to sample them in the car instead of waiting to eat them at home.  The cheese was protected on the ride home as my husband put it in our son’s carseat.  What a guy!  We tried the 6 Year Cheddar that night, and we gave it a 4.5 out of 5. From what our taste buds could recall, and with the help of our cheese tasting book, the Nasonville 6 Year Cheddar was a 5 out of 5.  Until the next cheese stop on our map, we have a well stocked supply to enjoy.

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Wisconsin Cheese Ventures

After hosting two “Cheddar-offs” while living in Pittsburgh, my husband and I are determined to find and sample the BEST Wisconsin cheese from the 100+ cheesemakers in this great state.

“What’s a Cheddar-off,” you ask?  It is a cheese competition, where we tasted and ranked cheese from New York, Wisconsin, and Vermont with our group of friends, who had their own cheese preferences based on where they grew up.  One friend from the Ukraine was deemed “neutral,” so he acted as the Cheddar-off administrator (cutting and serving the cheeses).  Sadly, Wisconsin cheese came in last in the first competition, as we did not control the level of sharpness in all cheese represented.  This lead us to host the 2nd Cheddar-off, where we had trusted one friend with purchasing all of the cheese, this time selecting sharp cheddar only.  Yet again, Wisconsin cheese surprisingly did NOT take the top spot.  New York cheddar took that honor both times.  This led my husband and me to believe that Wisconsin keeps the BEST stuff hidden away within state lines, thus starting our cheese ventures.

Daddy O Nasonville Dairy

Nasonville Dairy, Curtis, Wisconsin

The latest road trip brought us to Curtis, Wisconsin, located outside of Abbotsford.  The happy, bright yellow store shines like a cheddary beacon in the lush green North Central Wisconsin farmland. It was Sunday, late morning, and there was a steady flow of fellow cheese lovers in the store. We talked with the employees to learn that the Blue Jack cheese (blue cheese and monterey jack blend) was a patented Nasonville Dairy cheese. We ended up buying some Blue Jack slices and a 6 year old cheddar, packed them in our cooler, and headed home, looking forward to savoring our latest finds.

The aged cheddar and Blue Jack did not disappoint! It was semi-hard, kind of crumbly when you cut into it, sharp, earthy deliciousness. It didn’t even need crackers or bread – it stood well enough on its own.  The Nasonville Dairy 6 year old cheddar even became dessert one night, washed down with a cold beer.  I think it will be tough to compare other cheddars to this one! The Blue Jack was excellent on homemade hamburgers with an Capitol Oktoberfest beer.  Did I mention I love food?!  Did you meet and eat a cheese that you really loved?  Let me know about it!