We're No. 1, We're No. 1!
Drive-thru reports that Wisconsin cheese maker Carr Valley scored big time at the recent American Cheese Society judging. Beyond Carr Valley, cheeses from the Big 10 killed at the competition. We cannot win the Rose Bowl, but topped the cheese championship. This year's Best of Show came from Black Star Farm's Leelanau Cheese (aged raclette) of Sutton's Bay Michigan. Roth Kase, from Wisconsin, was third runner up in the Best of Show championship.
I'm sorry, I'm horribly chauvinistic when it comes to local cheeses. I know Cyprus Grove, Cabot and Red Hawk put out good cheeses, but it just bugs me when I see them on local cheese lists, when they dominate the selection at the cheese counter (when you can find any domestic cheeses). This year's results (pdf) again show how good are our area cheeses. Up and down the list you will find Fair Oaks Dairy, Capriole, Crave Brothers, Widmer's Cheese, Prairie Fruit Farms (how their Huckleberry Blue did not get a prize I do not know); BlueMond Dairy, Hidden Springs, etc. etc. etc. and etc. If I anything, I find myself thinking, why did we not win here; where's my friends at Brunkow, we gotta do better a feta next year...I guess that what happens from 30+ years of rooting for the Cubs, you take an intense interest in your cheese team.
There is no place better to find Midwestern cheeses than at the Dane County Farmer's Market (the one farmer's market that makes me sad, but that's for another post). The Oak Park Farmer's Market has Brunkow and Prairie Fruit Farms, so it's a good to dabble. The cheese shop in the Milwaukee Public Market also has a great selection as does Zingerman's, which, unfortunately, is a little far for regular shopping for me. If you like cheese, you can do no better than to eat local.