Saturday, March 29, 2014

Workshop: Goat and Sheep Milk Cheeses of Spain and Portugal

This just in from the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research: a few spots are still open for the April 15 Goat and Sheep Milk Cheeses of Spain and Portugal class in Madison.

The short course features a special guest coming from Portugal: Mariana Marques D'Almeida, an industry consultant, technical judge and small ruminant expert from Lisbon. Attendees will learn from both lectures and a focus on hands-on learning with a 3-hour cheesemaking lab with recipes from Spain and Portugal included. The staff at CDR are super excited about the class, and encourage artisan cheesemakers to enroll.

Bénédicte Coudé, Assistant Coordinator - Cheese Industry and Applications Group at CDR, says attendees will discover the science behind sheep, goat and mixed milk composition, coagulants, manufacturing protocols and much more.

Fee is only $150 for the entire day. Learn more and register online by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A New Day at Uplands Cheese

Uplands Cheese, home to the much-awarded Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese, is officially under new ownership. Cheesemaker Andy Hatch and Herdsman Scott Mericka, both of whom began as apprentices years ago at Uplands, announced today they have purchased the dairy farm and cheese company from its founders, Mike Gingrich and Dan Patenaude.

Most industry folks know that Hatch and Mericka have been managing the farm since 2010, leading to a gradual transition to the new management. Andy says the official papers were signed in February, and Uplands Cheese now officially belongs to a new generation.

Mike and Carol Gingrich are pleased with the transfer. “This has been a long time in the works and we couldn’t be more pleased to see the farm, the cows and the cheese pass into such capable hands,” Mike says.

Uplands Cheese was founded in 2000, when Gingrich and Patenaude began crafting Pleasant Ridge Reserve with the grass-fed milk of their cows. In 2001, the cheese vaulted to fame after winning the coveted Best of Show award at the annual American Cheese Society competition. It repeated the honor in 2005 and again in 2010, while also being named U.S. Champion Cheese in 2003. To date, Pleasant Ridge Reserve is the only cheese to have won ACS Best of Show three times, and is the only cheese to have won both of the major, national competitions.

Hatch, who has overseen cheese production since 2007, believes the Pleasant Ridge Reserve crafted today is better than ever. “We’ve continued to improve our pastures and our herd, and every year we refine our work in the ripening rooms, to the point where almost every batch is as good as the standout batches of several years ago,” he said.

Pleasant Ridge Reserve is made only in the summer months, while the farm’s cows are on pasture. In 2010, Hatch added a second cheese to the Uplands repertoire. Rush Creek Reserve is a soft-ripened cheese wrapped in a strip of spruce bark and made with the hay-fed milk of autumn months. Rush Creek Reserve cheese quickly attainted cult status in the cheese world, and continues to sell out quickly each November and December, when it’s sold across the country.

Congratulations to Uplands Cheese! We can't wait to see what you do next.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Taste 50 Cheeses at March 19 World Champion Cheese Charity Event

Hey cheese peeps: the world’s largest cheese competition is coming to Madison, and with it, an exclusive opportunity for you to taste 50 of the world’s most rare cheeses and witness judges from six continents execute the final round of judging to determine the 2014 World Champion Cheese.

On Wednesday, March 19, the World Championship Cheese Contest and Wisconsin Cheese Originals welcome the public to Exhibition Hall at Monona Terrace for the Champion Cheese Charity Event – A Benefit for Second Harvest Foodbank. Tickets are $35 and will be sold only in advance at  The event hosts guarantee at least $10,000 from ticket proceeds will be donated to Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. Attendance is capped at 600 persons, and this event WILL sell out.

Cheeses for the evening will be selected by my cheese sister, Sara Hill, and myself, from 2,615 entrants into the 30th biennial World Championship Cheese Contest, arriving from not only across the United States and great European cheesemaking nations, but also from Australia, Canada, Croatia, Japan, Norway, Romania and South Africa.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the Championship Round of Judging to start at 7 p.m.  Attendees will be on hand for the final round of cheese judging, as 50 expert judges from 20 countries determine and name the Best of Show. At least 50 of the world’s best and most rare cheeses will be sampled until 9 p.m. Complimentary appetizers will be served and a cash bar available.

A BIG thank you to our event sponsors for their support: Belgioioso Cheese, Brennan’s Market, Holland’s Family Cheese, Larry’s Market, Metcalfe’s Market, and Sartori.

I'm looking forward to seeing you there!