Cave-aged Cheese

The cool cred of cave-aged cheese

Cave-aged cheese is the real deal. Just like the cheeses of old, cave cheese is left to ripen in the cool confines and humid hospitality of a true-to-life cave (or an excellent facsimile). Over the centuries, cheesemakers have relied on caves to provide the constant temperature and high levels of moisture required to turn wheels of milk curd into championship cheddars, premium parmesans, great goudas, and the best gruyère cheese on earth.

Here in Wisconsin, we have a cadre of cave-aged cheeses that soak up the ambiance and aura of local caves to deliver full flavor and tantalizing texture. It's all part of our mission to make the tastiest, highest-quality cheese in the universe. And it's why we've won so many awards for our cheese – 5,552 and counting. Now that's some serious cheese cred.

Poke around our website to meet some of our cave-aged cheeses. Search our index for a great mac & cheese recipe with aged white cheddar, brick, or mascarpone. Or scroll down to learn more about cave- aged cheese from Wisconsin.

Wisconsin's best cave-aged cheese

Wisconsin is home to some great cave-aged cheese. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Bleu Mont Bandaged Cheddar, a cave-aged cheese that tastes of caramel, mustard greens, toasted walnuts, and mushrooms.
  • LaClare Chandoka™, a cow's milk and goat's milk New Zealand-style cheddar that's parmesan-like in texture with citrusy and buttery notes.
  • Roelli Red Rock Cheese, an American-style cheddar cheese with a naturally bloomy rind and a slight blue vein.
  • Carr Cave Aged Cheddar, a cheese with a creamy color, earthy flavor, and a distinctive rind that develops in an open-air cave where natural molds flourish.
  • Meister Cheese Company Eagle Cave Reserve, a special bandaged cheddar with rich, nutty, and earthy flavors with buttery caramel notes.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What is cave-aged cheese?

What is cave-aged cheese?

Cave-aged cheese is cheese that is aged or ripened within a real or human-made cave. In traditional cheesemaking, caves provided an environment with constant, cool temperatures, and high humidity that is perfect for aging cheeses. High humidity helps to keep the right amount of moisture in the cheese, while cool, consistent temperatures allow the cheese to ripen slowly and evenly. Caves also allow the cheesemaker to treat the cheese rinds more easily with mold or bacteria to create bloomy and washed-rind varieties.

Why does cheese need to age?

Aging is a big part of how cheese is made. When cheese is left to ripen for months or years, it develops stronger flavor, richer texture, and more personality. During the cheese aging process, lactose in the cheese is converted to lactic acid, which provides a sharper, tangier flavor. Aging cheese also undergoes a chemical process called proteolysis, where long protein chains within the cheese break down to create the smoky, nutty, and meaty flavors in cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, or gouda. Proteolysis is also responsible for the creamy texture of soft cheeses like brie.

Wisconsin: where cave-aged cheese gets its zing

When you have a cave-aged cheese from Wisconsin, you know you've got your hands on something special. Our cheesemakers have been producing world-class cheese for 180 years. Sure, places like Italy, France, and Switzerland have been making cheese longer, but Wisconsin cheesemakers have been laser-focused for almost two centuries on making cheese better. It's why they've won more awards for their cheese than any other place on earth – Italy, France, and Switzerland included. And it's why we sell so much cheese. One-quarter of all the cheese in America comes from Wisconsin, and nearly half of all the artisan cheese – which includes vat-loads of cave-aged cheeses.

So, next time you have a hankering for a cave-aged cheese, just make sure there's a Proudly Wisconsin Cheese badge on the label. Trust us – your taste buds are in for a real treat.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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