Cheddar: America's national cheese?

Cheddar may have gotten its start in the little town of Cheddar, England, but Wisconsin is where this hearty cheese really hit the big time. Today it's safe to say that cheddar is America's sweetheart (in the cheese category, at least.) That's because, in Wisconsin, we do more with cheddar than England ever dreamed of. Our cheesemakers spotted cheddar's true potential early on when they saw how versatile this rising star can be. Flavor it with pepper or horseradish, rub it with espresso or cayenne, or mix it with blue cheese for a mind-blowing taste sensation – cheddar delivers a knockout performance every time. Whether you like your cheddar young or aged, mild or sharp, straight up or with streaks of blue, Wisconsin cheesemakers have got you covered.

Find the right partner for your cheddar cheese

With so many admirers, it's easy to find the perfect match for your cheddar cheese.

  • Young cheddar. You really can't go wrong when pairing a milder cheddar. For beer, a frosty point of pilsner or IPA is perfect. Wines, try a chardonnay, pinot gris, rosé, or merlot. These are excellent cheeses for slicing, so go ahead and stack it high on a sandwich. Or eat it straight up as a snack with crisp apple slices.
  • Aged cheddar. The sharpness of aged cheddar goes well with a little sticky sweetness – apricot marmalade is our personal favorite. This hearty aged cheese goes well with mature beverages with a touch of sweetness – try Belgian ales, cider, bock, or saison ales. And for wine, a riesling, chardonnay, syrah, or pinot noir are great bets.
  • Cheddar blue These potent hybrids need a strong partner. For beers, try ciders, fruit beers or a solid porter. When pouring wine, cabernet sauvignon or chianti have the personality to keep pace with cheddar blue, as do port and madeira. And for serving, these hardy cheeses go well with sweet and tangy chutneys on a cheese board, but there's nothing better than a juicy grilled burger topped with a slice of melted cheddar blue.

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FAQs: All About Cheddar

What is cheddar cheese?

Cheddar is a category that covers a wide range of cheeses – everything from young cheddar to aged cheddar cheeses to hybrids like cheddar blue. The common denominator for these widely varying cheeses is a process called cheddaring that adds acidity and removes more moisture for a denser texture. The flavor of any given cheddar depends on how long it's aged for. The older it is, the stronger the flavor profile. Wisconsin is one of the only places on the planet that has cheesemakers aging some of their cheddars for up to 20 years.

How is cheddar cheese made?

While cheddar cheese starts off like other cheeses – with rennet introduced to the milk to separate the curds and whey – an additional step called cheddaring is what gives cheddar its distinctive texture. During this process, the curds are cut, made into blocks and then turned and stacked repeatedly to release more whey, giving the cheese more density and acidity.

Is colby the same as cheddar cheese?

Colby cheese, a semi-hard cheese that originated in Colby, Wisconsin, is similar to cheddar but is not made with a cheddaring process. As colby cheese is made, the way is replaced with water to reduce the curd's acidity, giving colby its milder flavor.

Why cheddar is better in Wisconsin

Why choose cheddar from Wisconsin? That's like asking "Why put your burger on a bun?" The answer: it's simply better. Making the world's tastiest, most award-winning cheese – that's our thing.

But why is Wisconsin cheddar better, you ask? For one thing, we've been making cheese for more than 175 years, and we're the only state that requires our cheesemakers to both complete an apprenticeship and have a license. We have the only Master Cheesemaker program in the world outside of Switzerland – which is why every Master in America has called Wisconsin home. And we've won more cheese awards (5,552 and counting) than anybody, anywhere (yeah, we're looking at you, Germany, France and Italy.)

So, when you're looking for your next chunk of cheddar in the grocery aisle, make sure it was Wisconsin-born and aged.

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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