The aged cheeses of Wisconsin
Wisconsin cheesemakers produce a bevy of award-winning aged cheeses. These beauties fall into several categories:
Many aged cheeses lose moisture and get harder as they ripen. Hard cheeses like parmesan, aged cheddar or romano are known as grating cheeses, while semi-hard cheeses like emmentaler , asiago, gouda, and havarti can be sliced or grated. These cheeses are delicious on their own, as part of a charcuterie board, or atop any baked dish that wants a flash of flavor.
Blue cheese is an aged cheese where bacterium Brevibacterium linens(B. linens) is stirred into the milk during the cheesemaking process. To provide the B. linens with the oxygen it needs to grow, cheesemakers push needles through the curd as the milk sets, creating the iconic blue-green veins throughout the cheese. As the cheese ripens for several weeks or months, it develops the sharp, robust, and tangy flavors that Wisconsin cheesesters covet in blue cheese varieties like gorgonzola, cheddar blue, Dunbarton Blue, and marbled blue jack.
Stinky, or washed-rind cheeses, are a type of aged cheese that develops strong and pungent aromas thanks to the bacteria that cheesemakers cultivate on the rind of the cheese as it ripens. Wisconsin is the only place in the U.S. still producing the famous limburger cheese, along with Wisconsin washed-rind originals like Liederdrantz® and Montague. The Wisconsin-born brick cheese is a milder, but still stinky, aged cheese commonly called the "married man's limburger."