Here in Wisconsin, we are pretty proud of colby cheese, a homegrown variety dreamed up by a Wisconsin cheesemaker in the 1800s in the little town of Colby. If we had a contest to elect a state cheese, colby might have an inside track – it's one of the fastest growing cheese varieties in the US, and our cheesemakers have won more than 100 awards for their colby cheese varieties.
Lots of folks think of colby as a cheddar because of its yellow color and the way that it's made. But it's a lot softer, milder, and moister than cheddar – is much closer to monterey jack cheese, with which it's often mixed to produce snack cheese and shredded cheese. Here in Wisconsin, we sell more than 40 different types and styles of colby, including garlic & onion, jalapeno, smoke, cranberry, dill and more.Fun fact, Wisconsin was the first state to combine monterey jack and colby to create a national favorite, colby jack!
Any way you slice it, colby cheese is headed for the big time – and Wisconsin will be cheering it on the whole way.
Colby is often served as table cheese, in slices, or cubes. Kids love its mild flavor. It can stack up high on sandwiches and it makes a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Pair it with crisp, slightly sour apples for an afternoon snack.
For beverages, pilsner, pale ale, or lager match Colby's mild personality. For wines, try a chianti, pinot noir, red zinfandel, champagne, or riesling. And if you're ready for the strong stuff, rye whiskey or tequila reposada are top of the list.
Colby cheese is a semi-hard cow's milk cheese that originated near Colby Wisconsin. Colby cheese has a similar taste to cheddar cheese, though it's made with a washed-curd process rather than with a cheddaring process, giving it a milder flavor and moister texture. Colby gets its yellow color from annatto, a natural seasoning made from the seeds of the achiote tree, which also gives the cheese a sweet nutty flavor.
Colby is made by washing the milk curds in water rather than whey, reducing the acid content and producing a milder, less tangy flavor while adding more moisture to cheese.
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Here in Wisconsin, we've got the colby cheesemaking process down cold. Heck, we invented it. It's part of a long tradition of cheese innovation that has brought us more cheese awards than any other state or country. And when you're up against competition like Italy, France and Switzerland, we think that's saying something.
That might surprise the rest of you, but we know how good our cheese is - Wisconsin makes nearly half of the nation's specialty cheese. Oh, and we have the only Master Cheesemaker program in the world apart from the one in Switzerland.
Some say it's part of our master plan for world cheese domination, but that kind of talk is not really our style. We just think of ourselves as humble folk who work hard to do one thing really well: make the tastiest, highest-quality cheese – like colby – that we know how.
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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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.