From small family-operated dairies to the aging rooms of renowned cheese makers, cheese has and still is, shaping the American food scene.
There are 300 different varieties of cheese produced in the United States, and according to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, “Wisconsin produces 600 varieties, types and styles of American, international-style and original cheeses that win more awards than any other state or country.”
“Wisconsin has approximately 12,000 dairy farms,” says the Milk Marketing Board, “with over 1.26 million cows producing an average of 20,630 pounds of milk per year.” Wisconsin cheese makers then use 90% of that milk to make incredible cheeses, producing 2.6 billion pounds of cheese a year! Talk about your mac & cheese. That’s over 25% of all domestic cheese made in the United States.
Cheese is a favorite among the Taste of Home staff (especially Prairie Ridge Reserve from Upland’s Cheese) as the perfect afternoon snack, but when unexpected guests arrive or we need an appetizer for a dinner party, we love to pair cheese with beverages for a tantalizing indulgence. And like everything else delicious, with great cheese comes great pairing options.
Here are a few guidelines from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for pairing cheese with the proper accompaniments:
Cheeses like Mascarpone, Ricotta and Feta are perfect for dips and spreads. Try pairing them with honey or maple syrup for a sweet compliment to their salty taste. When it comes to beverages, light fruity wines pair will with their creaminess.
Brie and Camembert are wonderful when served at room temperature or right out of the oven. These cheeses pair well with berries, nuts and sun-dried tomatoes. A deep Pinot Noir, sparkling wine and fruit infused beer are a great accompaniment.
The classic Wisconsin Cheddar is ideal with tangy apples and tart cranberries. Swiss and Gryuere are divine with chocolate and sweet pesto. Gouda and Edam are better suited with spiced nuts and peppers. Sparkling ciders and wines, along with pale ales, and stout beers blend well with these diverse cheeses.
Asiago, Parmesan and Romano cheeses pair well with foods that pack a punch. Try spiced nuts, tangy vinegars and cured meats to bring out the nutty, buttery flavors. For a beverage pairing, serve them with fruit wines and a sweet Italian Prosecco.
For more cheese pairing tips visit eatwisconsincheese.com
Have some cheese but don’t know what to pair it with? Check out this interactive cheese pairing tool, compliments of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board!
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We love cheese and we know you do too! Celebrate National Diary Month by telling us your favorite way to enjoy cheese. The winner will receive a cheese basket from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board!
Giveaway Guidelines – THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Winner: Congrats LeslieAnn McGilvray!
Entries only accepted on this page. Facebook and Twitter entries do not count.
Giveaway will remain open until Wednesday, July 4th. 2012 at 12 p.m. CST. Winner will be chosen at random, notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond.
Tell us your favorite way to enjoy cheese!