If you’re looking to branch out and dive deeper into the world of delicious cheese, look no further. For nearly 200 years, Wisconsin Cheesemakers have constantly been developing new cheese varieties that push the boundaries of flavor into new territory.
If you want to keep your cheese boards interesting and engaging, then Wisconsin Cheese is what you need. Read on to take your tastebuds on an adventure.
The best way to buy adventurous cheeses
Unsure of the best way to buy cheese? The best way to start is to find your local cheesemonger, a.k.a. your soon-to-be best friend. Be prepared with some ideas about what cheeses you’ve liked in the past and what you liked about them. Was it the sharp flavor or the soft texture? Are you a fan of those crunchy crystals that aged cheeses develop?
Sharing these details can help the cheesemonger identify similar cheeses to recommend and some that may take you a step further. For particularly adventurous cheeses, don’t be afraid to ask for a sample! It’s a great way to try new types of cheeses without committing to a whole block.
How to taste adventurous cheeses
Build up to it! Try a mild cheddar, then an apple-smoked cheddar, then a cheddar that’s been aged for 15 years. Building up to more complex cheeses will allow you to appreciate all the nuances in flavor that make adventurous cheeses so tasty.
When you’re ready to enjoy a particularly unique cheese, we recommend grabbing a notepad and focusing on four components.
Is your cheese soft and a little gooey? Does it have a beautifully moldy exterior? Are their eyes like in a hole-y swiss?
Now, it’s time for a texture study. Does it look firm or soft? Is it spreadable, sliceable, or crumbly? If it’s an aged cheese, can you spot any crystals?
What does it smell like when far away? What about when it’s right next to your nose? Does it smell grassy, woodsy, or earthy? Is it sharp and piquant or mild and milky?
As much as you may want to grab a big hunk, when you’re trying a new cheese for the first time we recommend taking a small, thin slice—one that you don’t have to chew. Let it sit on your tongue and soften. Keep an eye out for flavor notes like pepper, caramel, citrus, or mushroom.
Breathe out through your nose when you swallow and appreciate the aromas. Congratulations, you’ve just tasted an adventurous cheese!
Pairing adventurous cheeses
We love pairing cheeses with wine, beer, and jams, but it can be hard to know where to start with a new cheese. Our word of advice? Let the cheese be the star when trying it for the first time. Sit down with a drink that you enjoy and focus on appreciating the cheese.
The scent, the texture, the finish—every element! Take notes on what you observe. Is it fruity? Mushroom-y? Mild or sharp? Noticing these elements will set you up to find the perfect pairing next time.
Must-try Wisconsin Adventurous Cheeses
Deer Creek’s Rattlesnake: This is the only rattlesnake we’d recommend eating. This cheese by Deer Creek Cheese is packed full of flavor that you won’t get anywhere else! The cheesemakers at Deer Creek start by making a medium aged cheddar before infusing it with gold tequila and habanero peppers for a complex sweet-spicy experience.
It might sound like an unlikely combo, but trust us, it’s unbelievable. Pair it with some chilled tequila on the rocks for a fiery flavor combination.
Chalet Cheese’s Limburger: Like most washed rind cheeses, this limburger is intensely aromatic with a creamy, buttery, and slightly salty interior. Chalet Cheese Cooperative is the only American producer of limburger, so you won’t get this anywhere else!
The rind is edible, but packed full of flavor—so be ready to enjoy a bit of funk. Tap into limburger’s Belgian roots by pairing with a dark bock beer.
Hook’s EWE CALF to be KIDding: Here at Wisconsin Cheese, we love a gouda pun—so this cheese is one of our favorites. Beyond its name, this cheese is bright, flavorful, and award-winning, featuring milk from sheep (ewe), cow (calf), and goat (kid).
This triple-milk blue cheese is creamy and earthy all in one. Cheesemaker, Tony Hook, earned his Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® medal in 2023 for blue, so if you’re a blue-iever, ‘ewe calf to add this to your next cheese board. (We're not kid-ding.)
Roelli Red Rock Cheese: If you love cheddar and you love blue cheese, allow us to introduce you to a rind-blowing Wisconsin Cheese: Roelli Cheese Haus’ Red Rock.
That’s right, this bloomy cheddar has blue veins—an intricate pairing that’s the best of both worlds. Imagine a fine aged American cheddar with the bite and creaminess of a blue cheese. There’s nothing cheddar.
Carr Valley’s Bread Cheese®: This “bread cheese” from Carr Valley Cheese Co. is the latest trend you’ve probably never heard of. Originally from Scandinavia, this wildly original cheese is squeaky and buttery when eaten cold, and soft and caramelized when warmed.
It tastes like grilled cheese without the bread! Enjoy it plain, on top of a salad, or with maple syrup or jam for a sweet treat.
Inspired by all these adventurous cheeses? Treat your tastebuds to a cheese tasting and get Wisconsin’s finest cheeses delivered right to your door with our continuously updated list of cheesemakers and retailers that allow you to order cheese online. Award-winning Wisconsin Cheese is just a click away.
Craving something else? Choose from our selection of over 400 recipes featuring Wisconsin cheese. Don’t forget to share your creative cheesy creations with us on Facebook and Instagram.