The topic of cheese came up among friends, and I being the connoisseur of all things cheese, the question came to me to answer:
Where is the best cheese in the US from and is there really a difference between Californian cheese and Wisconsin cheese?
“Cows in California are surely ‘happier from the year round sunshine’ to quote the commercial, right?” one friend quoted.
So on the topic of cheese: cheese and beer are two things you don’t mess with. I mean purity laws are a real thing. There is a reason that Germany has bier purity laws regarding their famous lagers and biers because the recipes are not to be changed or trifled with. Good taste is about consistency through the ages, right down to the water source. It’s the same with cheese, except slightly grosser. Cheese is dependent upon good cultures, which means you don’t clean the machines. Not like all the other states require their cheese makers to clean their machines. Nope. Not in Wisconsin. Wisconsin holds to the same traditions as European cheese makers–probably because of our (yep, you got that right, I’ll still claim some ownership) strong European immigrant relationships. Wisconsin competes Internationally in the World Championship Cheese Contest–and also wins. Like a lot. Wisconsin cheeses have won a total of 5,552 awards since 1995.
Cheese sold IN THE STATE of Wisconsin must meet Grade AA or Grade A State Grade Brand—it’s part of the State’s Cheese Laws (it’s a real thing). Cheese that doesn’t meet this standard can be sold outside of the state without the grade e.g. “Wisconsin Cheese” but they are not necessarily the same quality of Grade AA. The ones sold at a lot of other stores in California are sold under the marketing label of Wisconsin but it’s not really Wisconsin graded cheese. Whole Foods, for example, at times will carry Wisconsin Grade AA cheese and it is often with a hefty price tag of over $20+.
To my fellow Californians, if you ever are in Wisconsin, definitely go cheese tasting! You’ll thank me!
As a bonus, be sure to check out another Wisconsin Crowning Jewel, O&H Bakery Danish Kringle. Almond Kringle can be found at Trader Joe’s from time to time, but man, it’s not the same as the other flavors! You can order by mail at: