For cheese lovers, October 9th is like Christmas
morning mixed with the thrill of an unexpected snow day on your birthday. Why,
you ask? Well, it’s a day spent celebrating all things funky and fungi-filled.
That’s right: it’s National Moldy Cheese Day!
Even if you’re a moldy cheese skeptic,
we’re pretty sure there’s a Wisconsin Cheese that will change your mind. Break
the “mold” of your usual cheese board picks and mix things up with these piquant
cheeses. Read on to learn all about moldy cheeses and sneak a peek at some of
our flavorful favorites.
Why Mold and Cheese are Best Friends
It might sound surprising at first, but many of our favorite
cheeses wouldn’t be possible without some friendly fungi that are expertly
maintained by cheesemakers. The delicious blue veins in a gorgonzola
cheese? Mold. The rind
on Upland’s award-winning Rush Creek Reserve? You got it: mold. A smear-ripened
cheese? Yup, not possible without mold.
Carefully cultivated mold plays
a huge role in transforming a humble cheese curd into a complex and unique
moldy cheese. In fact, one of the most important responsibilities a cheesemaker
has is to manage the species of mold that are added to their cheese. Every cheese
demands a specific set of conditions—like temperature, humidity, light, and timing—to
make sure that the right mold grows at the right time.
All this attention to
detail is what ensures that the molds used by cheesemakers are 100% safe to
eat. If you’re looking to dive deeper into the science of moldy cheese, start
with our guide to the basics.
5 of Our Favorite Moldy Wisconsin Cheeses
Roth’s Buttermilk Blue®: This tangy yet mellow blue cheese is
Roth’s flagship blue, and with your first
bite, you’ll understand why. Buttermilk Blue® is made with fresh milk from
farms just minutes away from where Roth Cheese crafts and ages this blue
cheese. Whether you’re a die-hard blue cheese lover or still a bit apprehensive,
Buttermilk Blue is a must-have for any National Moldy Cheese Day celebration.
Renard’s Muenster: Not to be confused with French
Munster, muenster is Wisconsin’s original take on the Alsatian classic. Ever
since our cheesemakers started making it in the late 1800s, we appreciated this
soft, creamy, washed rind cheese for its mild and nutty flavor. Muenster is
known for its beautiful orange rind, a result of the brevibacterium linens
that grows on the outside. Renard’s Muenster is a
versatile cheese that goes grate in everything from grilled cheese sandwiches
to cheeseburgers fresh off the barbeque.
Chalet Cheese Cooperative’s Country Castle Limburger: Protecting the
legacy of all cheeses is something near and dear to any Wisconsinites heart,
and that goes double for limburger. There’s just one
place in America that still makes limburger—and that’s Chalet Cheese
Cooperative in Monroe, Wisconsin. The first thing you’ll notice about limburger
is its distinctive and powerful smell. (Your nose will know it’s there before
your eyes do!) While its pungent aroma might be off-putting to some, those who
are willing to try it anyway will be rewarded with a smooth, earthy, and robust
cheese that’s perfect in a dark rye bread sandwich.
Roelli’s Red Rock: This Wisconsin Original is a great way to
expand the boundaries of your cheese tasting while keeping things familiar. Blue cheddar is aged cheddar
infused with Penicillium roqueforti, the fungus responsible for
developing blue cheese’s iconic veins and flavor. Basically, it’s the best of
Cedar Grove Cheese’s Artisan Montague: Made exclusively by Cedar Grove Cheese, the Montague is a blue-ribbon
winning delight that has everything you curd want in a cheese: balanced
richness and a just-one-more-bite texture that keeps you coming back for more.
Why is mold
on cheese safe?
In short, only molds that produce specific types of toxins are
dangerous to eat. Other molds, like the kind used in cheesemaking, are entirely
safe to consume.
If all this talk of moldy cheese has gotten you hungry
cheese tasting, you can get Wisconsin’s finest moldy 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.