Tag Archives | cheese

SteveEhlers

In Loving Memory: Steve Ehlers

By Edible staff
Photos courtesy of Ehlers family

If Steve Ehlers has any pull in the Hereafter, he’d use it to make sure Chris Roelli would take Best of Show at the 2016 American Cheese Society awards. We can all rest easy tonight, knowing that there is indeed an afterlife, and someone up there has a soft spot for Wisconsin cheeses.

Steve was one of the strongest forces behind the transformation of his father’s corner grocery store, Larry’s Market, from dry goods and staples to chevre and gouda. Today, Larry’s Market is the go-to source for the finest in Wisconsin cheeses and artisanal foods—a vision Steve had after attending a Fancy Food show in New York with his father.

His interest in fine foods wasn’t home grown, at least not initially. A trip to France as a teenager tipped the first domino, igniting in him a lifelong interest. Coming back to Wisconsin, his appetite whet, he cooked family dinner, taking his cues from the elegant French recipes he’d experienced abroad, coupled with the guidance of his mother and Julia Child.

Larry’s Market changed with the times, and Steve helped nudge those changes towards the fixture we know and love today—a … Read More

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Cheese

Cheese 101

Cut Into 8 Categories

By Jeanne Carpenter
Photography by Uriah Carpenter

With hundreds of types, styles and varieties of cheese available to us lucky folks here in Wisconsin, deciding which to buy can be daunting. But once one knows the eight basic categories of cheese and the characteristics that make each unique, picking the perfect cheese becomes easier.

Fresh

Although it may seem simple, fresh cheese is one of the most diverse categories. Fresh simply refers to cheeses that are not aged. This category includes soft—think milky and fluffy—such as fresh goat cheese; cheese made from whey, such as ricotta; and pasta filata (Italian for “spun paste”), and cheeses like fresh mozzarella.

Because it has not been aged, fresh cheese retains the color of fresh milk. That means fresh goat cheese is always pure, snowy white, and sheep’s and cow’s milk cheeses might vary from bright white to slightly golden, depending on how much grass the animal is eating.

Jeanne’s pick: Driftless sheep’s milk cheese from Hidden Springs Creamery in Westby, available in flavors such as basil and olive oil, maple, cranberry and cinnamon, and others.

Semi-Soft

A semi-soft cheese, like colby or havarti, often features tiny holes because … Read More

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ColdPackCheese

Go (Cold) Pack Go

Larry’s Market’s cold pack plate, featuring Pine River Sharp Cheddar and Port Wine flavors, Widmer’s Brick Cold Pack, Potter’s Crackers, Shallot Confit with Red Wine by Quince & Apple, and pepper jelly.

Exploring Cold Pack Cheese Spread

Story by Brett Kell
Photography by Joe Laedtke

You may or may not remember the first time you tried cold pack cheese spread. I do. I remember it like one remembers a first kiss, first joint, or first shot of liquor: totally foreign, slightly confusing, and worth another taste. What was this stuff, I wondered as I gazed down into the little plastic tub, one of my grandma’s stubby cocktail spreaders plunged into its surface like a flag on the moon.

It tasted like cheese. It looked like cheese. But its tangy, spreadable goodness had been foreign to me until this moment. As the Christmas lights twinkled and time stood still, I ate at least a sleeve’s worth of Town House crackers smeared with sharp cheddar cold pack and fell in love with the stuff.

But what was it, exactly?

Sometimes referred to as “club cheese” or “crock cheese,” cold pack is a spread made from different batches of the same variety of … Read More

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JeanneCarpenter

Changing Times for Wisconsin Cheesemakers

GMO labeling coming up next at Whole Foods cheese counters

Story by Jeanne Carpenter

Organic. Fair Trade. Grassfed. Certified Naturally Grown. Animal Welfare Approved.

American Humane Certified. You’ve seen these labels on hundreds of products in your local grocery aisle, signifying whatever box, can, or carton you’re about to purchase is certifiably grown or processed as described.

Well, brace yourself. There’s a new label in town, and this one has the potential to change the way a significant number of American farmers grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa—foods eaten by nearly every animal that ends up on our dinner plates and produces the milk we pour on cereal and eat in cheese. The Non-GMO Project Verified seal, a rectangular label with two spears of grass and an orange butterfly, is about to appear much more in your grocery aisle. Why? Two words: Whole Foods.

With more than 400 stores in the United States and Canada, and annual sales of $14.2 billion, Whole Foods is a major player in the North American natural food market. Last year, the company announced that by 2018, all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores must be labeled if they contain genetically modified organisms, known … Read More

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Classic Fondue

Recipe used with the permission of Emmi Roth

  • 1/2 lb. Emmentaler
  • 1/2 lb. Gruyère
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 c. dry white wine or kirsch
  • 2 Tbsp. flour, pepper, nutmeg
  • 2 loaves crusty French bread, raw vegetables, or potatoes

Preparation: (approx. 15 minutes) Grate, shred, or finely dice the cheeses. Dip cheese in flour to coat. Cut bread into 1” cubes or vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

Cooking: (approx. 15 minutes) Rub inside of pot with cut garlic clove. Place pot on stove top. Pour wine into pot. Heat over medium heat until wine is hot but not boiling. Add lemon juice. Add handfuls of cheese, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until cheese is melted and the cheese/wine mixture has the appearance of a light creamy sauce. Add pepper and nutmeg to taste. Bring to boil, remove pot, and place on lighted burner on top of table.

Yields 4 servings.

 

 

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rush-creek-reserve

Production of Rush Creek Reserve Canceled Due to Regulatory Uncertainty

Story by Brett Kell
Photos courtesy of Farm to Table Wisconsin and Uplands Cheese

While some holiday food traditions like fondue or raclette develop around the presence of loved ones, conversations and the memories they create, others coalesce around the food itself. Must-trys become must-haves, year in and year out.

Rush Creek Reserve, a highly coveted cheese produced by Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville, creates this type of excitement and loyalty, especially around the holidays, when a limited supply of the creamy, earthy stuff has been made available each of the past four years.

Made with raw autumn milk from cows in a closed, cross bred, rotationally-grazed herd, Rush Creek Reserve is the sum of its most important parts: high-quality milk and careful aging. The cheese is wrapped in spruce bark and aged on wooden boards in the traditional fashion. While this process has resulted in fervent admiration, it has also led to controversy.

Because of the Food and Drug Administration’s recent equivocation on the safety of both raw milk and the aging of cheese on wooden boards, Uplands owner and cheesemaker Andy Hatch informed distributors in August that Uplands wouldn’t be producing Rush Creek Reserve in 2014. He stressed … Read More

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Fondue

Melty Cheese Melts the Heart

Do you fondue? Raclette? You bet.

Story by Brett Kell
Photography by Joe Laedtke

When peering into the rich history of food or drink, rarely does one encounter a conspiracy. But when one does, they tend to be real doozies.

The history of whisky, for example, is rife with tumultuous conniving, from the interloping of the English and the establishment of the excise tax in the mid-1600s, to the the formation of the Distillers Company Limited cartel in 1877.

A lesser-known conspiracy took root in Switzerland after WWI that ultimately wound its way to America and delivered unto our shores a melty, delicious tradition that has endured to this day: cheese fondue.

The name fondue derives from the French fonder, “to melt.” Its origins are humble: with limited access to fresh foods during unforgiving Alpine winters, the Swiss took to dipping stale bread into melted aged cheeses in order to sustain themselves. In time, it became the national dish.

The name fondue derives from the French fonder, “to melt.”

Little do we know as we dip our crusty breadtipped forks into those cauldrons of cheese that our doing so was set into motion decades ago by a cartel … Read More

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LaClare Farms

Get Your Goat

Story and photography by Joe Laedtke

 

A modest goat milk co-op grows to a massive milking milestone. Dabbling turns to thousands of pounds of cheese-making capacity. A notion of home brings a Wisconsin girl from retail management back to the family farm.

Welcome to LaClare Country.

“This is the trailer that made it all possible.”

Homestyle Vertical Integration

Goats, milking parlors, on-site pasteurization and homogenization, cheesemaking, and aging caves feed a handsome store and on-site cafe serving LaClare goat milk cheese dishes.

Larry and son, Greg walk through the barn, addressing goats by first name. Katie remembers exactly when she knew she would come back  to parents’ Larry and Clara Hedrich goat farm in Chilton.

“I started working retail because one day I wanted to open an on-farm store.”

The LaClare Farms store is like a love letter to Wisconsin Cheese: Carr Valley slabs, tubs of Widmer Brick Cold Pack, sharp wedges of Sartori, and baskets overflowing with LaClare goat White Cheddar, Fondy Jack, and the breathtaking Evalon. Behind it, the cafe, unassuming and spacious, yields vistas of the milking parlor and yet-to-be-populated aging caves.

There’s a striking modesty to everything the Hedrichs do and say: moving about in … Read More

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CesarLuis

From Oaxaca to Milwaukee

Cesar Luis & Family Bring Mexican Cheeses to Local Palates

Story by Will Workman
Photography courtesy of Cesar’s Photography

It’s another day, another tour at Sassy Cow Creamery, set in a bucolic patch near Columbus.

A school bus has deposited a crowd of kids who are noisily browsing gift shop trinkets and gulping down ice cream samples. Most are entirely oblivious to the scene in the large viewing window on the far wall.

Behind the glass, four Hispanic workers are busy cutting, sorting and packing glistening globes of fresh cheese. A typical sight in America’s food industry: Mexicans in the background, serving up what we all eat. Why should anyone notice?

But above the din, a Sassy Cow staffer directs the kids’ attention to what makes this scene unique:

“Look guys, there’s Cesar and his family making cheese,” she says.

Indeed, Cesar Luis, his wife Heydi, and their son, “Little” Cesar, 14, and daughter, Damaris Magali, 11, are crafting cheese that will be sold across the region, opening eyes and palates to a rich tradition of Mexican cheese making.

The success of the family operation, Cesar’s Cheese, has been cemented by a slew of awards, including the Blue … Read More

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LarrysMktSampler

A Rare Cheese Find in Brown Deer

Larry’s Market Still Features Octagenarian Cheesemonger

Story by Martin Hinz
Photography by Uriah Carpenter

 

Looking for cheese? By passing through the front door of Larry’s Market in Brown Deer, you know you’ve come to the right place. This century-old building is a cheese-o-phile’s dream come true, emphasizing high quality artisanal fromage. Larry’s is just a block south of bustling Brown Deer Road in what used to be the village center prior to its outward suburban push.

The store is presided over by born-salesman Larry Ehlers, who at a mere 89 remains jaunty in his trademark beret. The place is now owned by son Steve and his wife Cindy.

“We look at the quality of the cheese, the price and the size of the wheel and then decide whether it would be practical for us to sell it,”
-Patty Peterson, manager of Larry’s Market.

Daughter Patty Peterson is the manager, but Larry worked here as a kid when it was a grocery store and consequently knows every squeak in the floorboards. He eventually purchased the place, stocking all sorts of fine eats that attracted patrons from around the area. Even though many were captains of industry and high-flying world travelers, … Read More

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