Here's to you, cheese. You wonder of wonders, you fountain of flavor, and chameleon of texture. We are in awe how, with three simple ingredients – milk, salt, and culture – you transform into more than 1,800 different cheese experiences. Everything you touch turns to gold. Baked dough becomes pizza, plain pasta becomes beloved mac and cheese, and bland bread becomes the best-grilled cheese sandwich ever. Grating and sprinkling you adds flavor to any dish. Warm you and you grace any beer cheese dip or fondue recipe. All-powerful cheese, is there anything you can't do?
In Wisconsin, we know the magic of cheese quite well – we've been under its spell for generations. You won't find a bigger champion of cheese anywhere in the world or cheesemakers who have won more championships than ours. Most importantly, you won't find tastier, higher-quality cheese than in Wisconsin. No need to thank us – it's our humble contribution to the world of cheese.
Cheese is amazing on its own, but pair it with wine or charcuterie and you've opened the door to a whole new universe of flavor.
Here are a few tips for making the perfect match for your favorite cheese.
When pairing cheese with wine:
When pairing cheese with meats:
Cheese is made by separating the liquid or whey in milk from the solids or curds. This separation is caused by gently heating the milk and adding a culture – usually a bacteria or rennet – to curdle the milk. After the curd is firm or "set", it may be salted and cut, stacked and/or pressed into molds to release more whey. The cheese may be aged for a few days to a few years – the variations in the cheesemaking process are what allow cheesemakers to produce so many different variations.
Stinky cheese is a washed-rind cheese with a strong, pungent smell caused by bacteria that cheesemakers encourage to grow on the exterior of the cheese. While the smell of stinky cheese can be strong, the bacteria cause chemical reactions that help to give this soft cheese a complex, nutty, and buttery flavor.
Fresh cheese is cheese that is not aged and intended to be eaten soon after it is made. Milder than aged cheese, fresh cheese usually has a creamy, salty, and tangy taste. Fresh cheese can range from creamy and spreadable to soft and stretchy to delicate and crumbly.
Moisture, fat content, acidity, and the age of cheese all affect the way a cheese will melt. The high moisture content of mozzarella, that famous pizza cheese, allows it to melt quickly, while older, dryer cheeses like parmesan will not. Acid-curdled cheeses like paneer or bread cheese do not melt, while a high-fat cheese like cheddar is an excellent melter.
Get Pairing Ideas, Cheese Recipes, Cheese Facts, Wisconsin Cheese Awards delivered straight to your inbox.
Cheese may have originated in countries all over the world, but no one speaks the language of cheese better than Wisconsin. Cheese is in our DNA – we've been making cheese here since before we were even a state. Cheese is in our hearts, too – as a state, there's nothing we love more than eating cheese with our meals, unless it's eating cheese between meals. And cheese is in our heads – we're obsessed with finding more ways to make it, cook it, and consume it.
So, whether you're a lover of cheese looking for the best cheese on the planet, or a dabbler looking to expand your horizons, in Wisconsin, we have the perfect cheese for you.
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?
Check out the world’s largest cheese platform.
View our Current Issue
Need help? Say Hello
In Wisconsin, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese than anywhere else in the world. We believe in tradition, producing everything from Italian classics, like parmesan and ricotta, to swiss cheese and cheddar varieties. But every Wisconsin cheesemaker is an innovator as well, which is why we have so many Wisconsin originals, like colby and muenster. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, potatoes au gratin, or a charcuterie board, Wisconsin cheese makes every dish and recipe tastier.