The Most Awarded U.S. Cheese!
Most people don’t think about artisan cheese when they think of Wisconisn, but they should. Because the most-awarded cheese in American history– Pleasant Ridge Reserve – comes from southwestern Wisconsin.
Andy Hatch, the cheesemaker behind this award winner, is a true artisan. Cheesemaking only takes place when the pasture is at its best between May and early October because that’s when the milk has the most flavor. In addition, he only makes cheese on days when the pasture conditions and milk composition meet his quality standards. That selectivity shows through in the final product.
Andy is a passionate advocate of raw milk cheese. He visited our shop earlier this year and when talk turned to raw milk versus pasteurized (that’s the kind of thing cheese geeks talk about), he told us:
“Raw milk is the key to making cheeses that taste like themselves; cheeses with distinctive character and depth. The flavor complexity made possible by raw milk adds another dimension, like listening to music in stereo instead of mono.”
Pleasant Ridge Reserve is a gruyère-style cheese, with a sweetly nutty taste and an an earthy bite. It’s a terrific melting cheese, although we generally just enjoy it with a glass of wine.
Pairings: Because of the sweet nuttiness of this cheese, dessert wines or a slightly sweet Riesling make particularly good companions. If you prefer dry wines, try a fruity shiraz. Add a little fig jam with the cheese and you’ll take the pairing even higher. If beer is more your style, try barley wine beer or a wheat beer.