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Cheese News

  • PASTORAL ANDERSONVILLE & APPELLATION ARE FINALLY HERE!

    Hallå Andersonville!

    After much anticipation we are very excited to announce the opening of our fourth Pastoral retail location and second full-service restaurant, Appellation in Andersonville! We're thrilled to join the community and invite you into this 3,800 square foot space which features the products and menu items you already love, as well as a 75-seat restaurant and wine bar where you can experience them all together.

     

    Appellation - A Wine Bar & Restaurant with a Sense of Place

    daytime inside Dill ricotta gnudi with preserved lemon, beets, hazelnuts, butter and Pantaleo small

    Located inside of the new retail store, Appellation will offer guests a simple but amazing approach to food and wine with a sense of place, in a warm, inviting space. The restaurant’s name and menu inspires guests to appreciate the place of origin for each ingredient and wine pairing, as well as the farmers and producers with whom Pastoral has built great relationships over time. Chef Jesse Williams, a former Pastoral cheesemonger, has crafted an inaugural dinner menu featuring a range of rustic and creative cuisine using high-quality ingredients that highlight the notable cheeses Pastoral has championed for more than 10 years.

    MAILLE MUSTARD NOW AVAILABLE IN THE MIDWEST

    maille mustard tap
    To accent our charcuterie station, we are very excited to feature exclusive White Wine mustard on tap from Maille, which is available in just two American locations outside of Chicago. Sharp, spicy and remarkably fresh, this draft mustard is unlike any you've experienced before. We will also carry several varieties of Maille’s premium jarred mustards, including Blackcurrant, Cognac, Walnut, Lemon & Harissa, as well as a premium Hazelnut oil.

     

    greg & kenWe are looking forward to sharing this new space and exciting retail and restaurant concept with our new neighbors in Andersonville and the city we've called home for over a decade. Please join us for the celebrations, hope to see you there!

    - Ken Miller & Greg O'Neill

  • We're Growing! New Pastoral Location Coming to Andersonville

    Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine is pleased to announce that we have signed a lease to open a new location at 5212 North Clark Street in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The new location will feature a hybrid retail and restaurant/wine bar and will be the our largest project to-date. An undertaking of this size would not be possible without the amazing support of our producers, customers and local communities, and for that we are incredibly grateful!
    bway cheese counterThe new Andersonville location will offer an exciting extension of our European-inspired, neighborhood cheese and wine shops you know and love, which celebrate the highest quality, cut-to-order domestic and international specialty cheeses, freshly baked breads, perfectly chosen accompaniments and small production wines. At nearly 3,800 square feet, the space will be arranged into sections or “stations” to allow for an intimate environment with attentive and thoughtful service for patrons to experience and purchase high quality, hand-crafted products, including cheese and wine, charcuterie, gourmet sandwiches, custom gift baskets and artisan catering.

    “We’re fortunate to have found an incredible space for Pastoral in the heart of Andersonville, a vibrant neighborhood with a strong sense of community,"

    We could not be more excited to be welcomed into such a flourishing and inviting neighborhood; Andersonville boasts an exciting food culture and has become a top shopping and dining destination for Chicagoans and other visitors. “We’re fortunate to have found an incredible space for Pastoral in the heart of Andersonville, a vibrant neighborhood with a strong sense of community,” said Greg O’Neill, co-founder/owner of Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine.
    The new location is scheduled to open in late summer 2015. Pastoral’s current retail locations include: 2945 North Broadway; 53 East Lake Street; and Chicago French Market, 131 North Clinton Street. In 2012, we opened Bar Pastoral, an award-winning, Michelin Guide recommended cheese & wine bistro located at 2947 North Broadway.
    Follow us Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on this exciting news!
  • A Visit to Switzerland

    After traveling around the Jura region of France, Lisa Futterman's trip brought her east to Switzerland...

    (Read about the first part of her journey here!)

    Jumi 1

    The second half of my recent European trip was a visit to Switzerland. From Geneva, we traced a path along the French side of Lac Leman through the Haute Savoie (see piles of Tommes de Savoie spotted at the farmer’s market above) and crossed the Swiss border turning north to reach Bulle, in the heart of La Gruyere, the French-speaking region where the Gruyere AOP was established. We visited the offices and modern aging caves at SA Gruyere, where the 33 kilo wheels of our 1655 Antique gruyere finish their 12 months of aging.

    jumi 2

    And of course there was a comparative tasting of 6 and 12 month gruyeres, paired with white wine from the region:

    jumi 3

    After lunch by a lake (beef tartare and Swiss red), we headed North to a JUMI Cheese in Konolfingen, a small town just southeast of Bern.

    jumi 4

    How do I explain JUMI?

    jumi 5

    jumi 6

    Jumi is an artisan cheese and meat company owned by two Swiss hippies whose ancestors have made traditional emmenthal for centuries. They sell their unique cheeses to restaurants and at markets in Bern and London’s Borough Market.

    Examples:

    Blaus Hirni, a raw cow’s milk ball that is allowed to blue on the outside (hence the name which roughly translates to “blue brain”):

    jumi 7jumi 8

    Belper Knolle, a raw cow ball coated in Himalayan salt, pepper, and garlic that can be eaten fresh, but is often aged for up to a year and grated. My companion purchased one and served it grated over spaghetti made in the Swiss Alps (near the Italian border). Uniquely delicious.

    And this one, whose label speaks for itself, “flavored” with hemp seed.

    jumi hemp seed

    My companion is a chef who buys Jumi cheese for his restaurant in Lucerne, so we got the VIP tour and tasting of Jumi’s aging rooms, kitchens, and warehouse.
    They have an ancient stone wheel on which to wash the surfaces of the washed rind cheeses (the hole in the cent is for the run off.) And a room specifically for cheeses that benefit from the effect of cheese mites.

    jumi 9

    They also make the most incredible cheese accompaniment, a fruit and nut “bread” that has no flour in it. Here is our guide showing it off.

    jumi 10

    Finally we got to taste the Blau, the Belper Knolle, and some others. What an outrageous visit…

    jumi visit

    Then we went “home” to Lucerne, and the Saturday morning farmer’s market did not disappoint! That’s Rolf Beeler there on the left!

    jumi 12jumi 13

    Here’s my overseas cheese haul from 2 countries and many regions:

    jumi 14

    And back at home at Pastoral’s Fulton Warehouse, carting around 3 cut wheels of Antique Gruyere!

    jumi 15

  • American Cheese Society Winners 2013

    This past weekend, the best of American Cheesemakers headed to Madison, WI for the annual American Cheese Society Conference! Congrats to all the winners, and head to one of our locations or our Online Store to enjoy these delicious cheeses yourself!

    Contenders are put through a rigorous judging process, and we at Pastoral are very proud to carry many of the award-winning cheeses:

    ACS WINNERS 2013
    BEST OF SHOW

    Cellars at Jasper Hill, VT
    Winnimere
    (Seasonal Cheese)

    2173
    OPEN CATEGORY – SOFT-RIPENED CHEESES – MADE
    FROM COW’S MILK

    3rd Sweet Grass Dairy, GA
    Green Hill

    2178
    AMERICAN ORIGINALS ORIGINAL RECIPE / OPEN
    CATEGORY – MADE FROM GOAT’S MILK

    1st Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, VT
    Bonne Bouche

    2nd Cypress Grove Chevre, CA
    Humboldt Fog Grande

    bonne bouche1
    2146
    CHEDDAR WRAPPED IN CLOTH, LINEN – AGED UP TO 12
    MONTHS – ALL MILK

    1st Cellars at Jasper Hill, VT
    Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

    10493
    RINDLESS BLUE-VEINED – MADE FROM SHEEP’S MILK OR
    MIXED MILK

    3rd Rogue Creamery, OR
    Echo Mountain Blue

    echo mountain
    BLUE-VEINED WITH A RIND OR EXTERNAL COATING –
    MADE FROM COW’S MILK

    1st Rogue Creamery, OR
    Rogue River Blue - Seasonal

    2nd Rogue Creamery, OR
    Caveman Blue

    3rd Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., CA
    Point Reyes Bay Blue

    rogue river1
    caveman
    2068
    FETA – MADE FROM SHEEP’S MILK OR MIXED MILKS

    3rd Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
    Farmstead Feta

    8838 (1)
    OPEN CATEGORY – SMOKED CHEESES – MADE FROM
    COW’S MILK

    2nd Rogue Creamery, OR
    Smokey Blue

    8047
    OPEN CATEGORY – FARMSTEAD CHEESES – SOFT – ALL
    MILKS; AGED UP TO 60 DAYS – OVER 50% MOISTURE

    3rd Sequatchie Cove Creamery, TN
    Dancing Fern

    dancing fern1
    OPEN CATEGORY – FARMSTEAD CHEESES – SEMISOFT –
    MADE FROM COW’S MILK; AGED OVER 60 DAYS –
    BETWEEN 39 AND 50% MOISTURE

    1st Cellars at Jasper Hill, VT
    Winnimere

    (Seasonal)

    2173
    GOAT’S MILK CHEESE AGED OVER 60 DAYS

    3rd LaClare Farms Specialties, LLC, WI
    Evalon

    evalon
    FRESH RINDLESS SHEEP’S MILK CHEESE AGED 0 TO 30
    DAYS

    3rd Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
    Driftless Natural

    driftless123
    SHEEP’S MILK CHEESE AGED OVER 60 DAYS

    2nd Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
    Ocooch Mountain Reserve

    ocooch mountain
    WASHED RIND CHEESES AGED MORE THAN 90 DAYS
    WITH UP TO 44% MOISTURE – ALL MILKS

    3rd Uplands Cheese, WI
    Pleasant Ridge Reserve

    2079
    OPEN CATEGORY – WASHED RIND CHEESES – MADE
    FROM COW’S MILK

    3rd Meadow Creek Dairy, VA
    Grayson

    8978
    OPEN CATEGORY – WASHED RIND CHEESES – MADE
    FROM SHEEP’S MILK OR MIXED MILKS

    2nd Hidden Springs Creamery, WI
    Ocooch Mountain

    ocooch mountain
  • Quark - It's What's For Dinner!

    Last fall Pastoral started carrying Quark from the brand new Clock Shadquark flatbreadow Creamery in Milwaukee.  Quark is a delicious European style fresh cow cheese that can be eaten as a spread (like cream cheese) or used in recipes that call for ricotta or chevre.

    Click on this link to read Clock Shadow’s exhaustive and fun blog post about Quark.

    Our Chef customers got very excited about using Quark on their menus. Not to mention it is fun to say “Quark."

    Here’s a look at what quark savvy Chicagoland restaurants have been serving:

    (Note: menus change frequently so be prepared for a different (but delicious) preparation than what’s listed)

    At Vera quark is mixed with honey and served with Chef Mark Mendez’s warm bread service.

    At Hoyt’s in Hotel 71 Winter Menu quark is featured on Chef Aaron Munson’s Duck Confit Flatbread with apricots and arugula.

    Lula offers dry-aged Broken Arrow Ranch venison leg, rubbed with spruce and served with sprouted lentils, caramelized quark, braised white radishes, horse radish, and a currant venison jus de lie.

    Nightwood recently featured a savory brunch tart with quark custard, Brussels sprouts, and a runny egg on top

    Check out Nightwood's video of how to make their savory tart!

    At Found in Evanston Chef Nicole Pederson’s Winter vegetable and quark flatbread flies out of the kitchen nightly.

    Table Donkey & Stick Chef Scott Manley pairs roasted Rushing Waters trout, with rye Berries, carrots, and walnut and horseradish quark.

    The cheese course for the 4 course Valentine’s Day menu at Terzo Piano pairs Clock Shadow creamery Quark with truffle honey and shortbread.

    By Pastoral's own Cheesemonger extraordinaire - Lisa Futterman, CCP

  • Cows, Grass, and the Making of Great Cheese

    How Thriving Pastures & Happy Animals Lead To Great Cheese

    The health and quality of a pasture can be measured a number of ways. Great milk and cheese comes from healthy, happy animals. And animals are healthy and happy when they can forage through a thriving, diverse pasture of which the animals are a vital component. In order to maximize the quality of the land her animals graze, a farmer has several tools in her belt.

    DSC_0602One is to control the amount and variety of available forage her animals have access to. Another is to control the number of animals given access to a particular stretch of pasture, known as a paddock.

    DSC_0609

    Together these two things are known as grazing pressure. Grazing pressure can be focused by fencing off a particular paddock. This will focus the efforts of grazing animals to a particularly lush piece of pasture or give a fenced off area time to recoup. Mowing can drastically affect things like seed production. Some common weeds can be completely wiped out with yearly mowing. Or adding goats to share pasture being grazed by cows will increase dry matter intake (how much the animals are eating), by ensuring plants less palatable to the cows are still being chewed down and kept in balance.

    DSC_0592Some animals, like beef cattle, brood ewes can fulfill their genetic potential on less selectively managed pasture. But any young, or lactating animal should be offered lots of green variety with access to multiple water sources and shade. Dairy farms that make cheese may interrupt production of their cheese if pasture conditions are not ideal. This allows them to guarantee consistent, outstanding quality in their cheese. Pasture-based milk will still be of exceeding quality on its own under the same conditions that might slow down cheese production.

    RedwoodHill-14

    Of course, all of these things can be dramatically affected by factors like weather, economic and market conditions, disease and pest control, and other variables. This is why the most important aspect of any grazing outfit is an attentive farmer who cares about her land and her animals. With the right amount of ability and attentiveness, the quality and health of the land and animals can improve year after year. And for a cheesemaker, this would result in larger amounts of higher quality milk to make cheese out of. When grazing is approached with the right mix of know-how and determination, everybody wins.

    This post was researched & written by Colin Coyle, Cheesemonger at Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine. Fun Fact: Colin is also Pastoral's newest sign-maker, and you can see his careful sign-making handiwork in all Pastoral stores and at Bar Pastoral.

    Sources

    (1)..Hall, Marvin, Professor of forage management; Deak, Atila Ph.D. candidate in agronomy. Penn State College of Agricultural sciences research. Publications Distribution Center

    (2.) Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. Agronomy Guide. Section 8: Forages – Pastures:Grazing Management. Grazing Pressure and Stocking Rate. © 2013 College of Agricultural Sciences.

  • Thanks for a Successful American Cheese Month

    Thank you!

    Now that the Holidays are in full swing, we wanted to spread some holiday cheer and thank everyone for helping us to make October an incredibly successful American Cheese Month! We raised a grand total of $1500 for the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award, and we have all of you to thank for helping us reach this milestone.

    AmericanCheeseMonth_logo_transparency-1024x862

    We wanted to thank the following Cheesemakers for visiting us in Chicago and spreading the word about their delicious American Cheeses. Consider Bardwell Farm, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., and Uplands Cheese Company all held tastings at our stores to teach our patrons about their amazing American-made cheeses. Everyone enjoyed their delicious and educational visits.

    A special thank you goes to Saxon Homestead Creamery for hosting the Cheesemaker Dinner at Nightwood Restaurant. This delicious meal was a lovely and touching benefit for the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award. It was truly an amazing evening.

    Saxon creamery cheesemaker dinner

    We also cannot forget all of the good Samaritans that donated to this wonderful cause at all of our stores! We raised hundreds through donations at the register and purchases of our American Cheese Month Specialty Sandwich.

    American Cheese Month was a true success, and we are grateful for all of your support to help us remember our friend Daphne Zepos and celebrate the beauty and joy of American Cheeses.

    Daphne Zepos Teaching Award

    daphne and cheese board

    The Daphne Zepos Teaching Award is an annual scholarship awarded to a USA-based cheese professional who use the funds to travel, learn and further their education on cheese, and we are proud to help benefit this great cause.
    You can still donate to the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award on our website HERE

    Thank you for making American Cheese Month such a great success!

  • My Favorite Cheese: Tumalo Classico

    classico-borderName: Classico
    Producer: Tumalo Farms
    Milk: Pasteurzied Farmstead Goat's Milk
    Age: 3-6 months
    Rennet: Traditional
    Bend, Oregon

    My favorite American Cheese is Tumalo Classico. I love the story behind it as much as I love the flavors. More than just an aged gouda, this one has burnt citrus flavors and honey accompanying toned down butterscotch and carmel flavors. There is also a distinctly almond flavor in the more nuanced wheels. I also love that Flavio, the maker, got interested in Dutch culture while living and working in Japan, studied cheesemaking in Brazil where they learned from the Italians, and now makes it in Oregon, all after having made his fortune in Silicon Valley. I love this cheese because it is absolutely delicious, and it's just so darn worldly!

    Also, it doesn't hurt that the cheesemaker's name is Flavio. I have noticed some big differences in the wheels between stores, sometimes being a little older and flavorful, sometimes younger and far more nuanced.

    Colin Coyle moved to Chicago from Peoria three years ago to finish school and liked the city so much he decided to stay. He loves the arts scene here, and enjoys spending time at the lake and finding new things downtown.

  • American Cheese Month, Pastoral and You

    Together with the American Cheese Society (ACS), Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine celebrates American Cheese Month in October, the second annual national celebration of American artisan cheese and the farmers, cheesemakers, purveyors and chefs who bring American artisan cheese to the table. Throughout this month, Pastoral will collaborate with the ACS, plus farmers, cheesemakers, purveyors and chefs throughout the region to host a variety of special events, free tastings, fundraisers and exclusive offers that celebrate the quality and craftsmanship of American cheese.

    The American Cheese Society created the first ever American Cheese Month in October 2011 to recognize and raise awareness of the quality and diversity of American cheeses; to support and promote well-made cheese, local foods, family farms, traditional cheesemaking methods and sustainable production models; and to help generate funding for the American Cheese Education Foundation (ACEF) which educates people about the art and science of artisanal and specialty cheese. American Cheese Month is now held annually each October, with special events and promotions planned in cities across the country.

    “The burgeoning artisan cheese movement in North America inspired us to open Pastoral back in 2004, and we continue to be delighted and motivated everyday by the growing number of American artisan cheesemakers from regions throughout the U.S. who now receive not only national acknowledgment, but international recognition and awards as well,” said Greg O’Neill, co-founder of Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine and president of the American Cheese Society. “During this second annual American Cheese Month, we’re especially eager to spread the word on the quality and craftsmanship of American cheesemakers and create dialogue on sustainability, eating locally and supporting traditional cheesemaking practices.”

    In celebration of American Cheese Month 2012, Pastoral is hosting free in-store tastings
    with award-winning Uplands Cheese Company (Wisconsin) and Consider Bardwell Farms (Vermont). In addition, Pastoral has added a special sandwich to the menu in October—The Greenfields—created by Chrissy Camba, inaugural chef at the new Bar Pastoral slated to open later this month. The Greenfields special sandwich features Greenfields washed rind cheese from Saxon Homestead Creamery in Wisconsin, Prosciutto San Daniele, prosciutto cotto from Creminelli Fine Meats, pear jam with ginger from Quince & Apple and whole grain Dijon mustard on a baguette. 15% of each sale of The Greenfields sandwich, along with 15% of each sale of the Great Ladies of Cheese Medley at Pastoral, will support the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award which is an annual scholarship awarded to a USA-based cheese professional who uses the funds to travel, learn and further his or her education on cheese. The scholarship was created in memory of Daphne Zepos who was the founder of Essex Street Cheese Company and the owner of the Cheese School of San Francisco. Pastoral customers are also invited to donate directly to the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award and the ACEF at Pastoral’s web site, pastoralartisan.com, and in-stores.

    Also as part of American Cheese Month 2012, Pastoral will co-host an exclusive dinner
    on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, with Chef Jason Vincent at Nightwood and featuring Saxon Homestead Creamery’s Jerry Heimerl. More information and all event tickets are available at pastoralartisan.com or by calling any store location.

    FULL CALENDAR OF AMERICAN CHEESE MONTH SPECIAL EVENTS, FREE TASTINGS, FUNDRAISERS AND OCTOBER-ONLY OFFERS WITH PASTORAL ARTISAN CHEESE, BREAD & WINE—ALL OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

    MEET THE AMERICAN CHEESEMAKER
    —Dinner with Saxon Homestead Creamery’s Jerry Heimerl, sponsored by Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine and Nightwood
    Wednesday, October 24, 7:00 p.m. (Nightwood, 2119 South Halsted Street, Chicago)

    In celebration of the second annual American Cheese Month and to support the American Cheese Education Foundation (ACEF), Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine and Chef Jason Vincent of Nightwood together host Meet the American Cheesemaker—Dinner with Saxon Homestead Creamery’s Jerry Heimerl. $90 per person, including a four-course dinner and wine pairings. Price also includes 20% gratuity. $5 of each ticket sale will support ACEF. Menu features a first course of bitter fall greens, fermented melon, peanut and Saxony; second course of Snowfields and date dumplings, cabbage, sage and fresh cayenne; third course of Farfalle, Greenfields, salami and anchovy ragu; and fourth course of Big Eds grilled cheese with tomato and apple jelly. Purchase tickets at Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, online at pastoralartisan.com or call 773-472-4781.

    FREE TASTINGS AND DEMOS WITH AMERICAN CHEESEMAKERS AT PASTORAL IN CELEBRATION OF AMERICAN CHEESE MONTH

    Thursday, October 25

    FREE tasting / demo with Consider Bardwell Farms (Vermont)
    4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Chicago French Market, 131 North Clinton Street)

    Friday, October 26

    FREE tasting / demo with Uplands Cheese Company (Wisconsin)
    4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Loop, 53 East Lake Street)

    Saturday, October 27

    FREE tasting / demo with Consider Bardwell Farms (Vermont)
    11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Loop, 53 East Lake Street)

    Saturday, October 27

    FREE tasting / demo with Consider Bardwell Farms (Vermont)
    5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Lakeview, 2945 North Broadway)

    Note: Additional free tastings may be scheduled ongoing throughout the remainder of October. Visit pastoralartisan.com/events for regular updates.

    SPECIALS FOR OCTOBER AT PASTORAL

    Purchase The Greenfields sandwich or The Great Ladies of Cheese Medley anytime now through October 31, 2012, and 15% of each sale will support the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award which is an annual scholarship awarded to a USA-based cheese professional who uses the funds to travel, learn and further his or her education on cheese. The scholarship was created in memory of Daphne Zepos who was the founder of Essex Street Cheese Company and the owner of the Cheese School of San Francisco.

    The Greenfields Sandwich, $10
    The Greenfields special sandwich features Greenfields washed rind cheese from Saxon Homestead Creamery in Wisconsin, Prosciutto San Daniele, prosciutto cotto from Creminelli Fine Meats, pear jam with ginger from Quince & Apple and whole grain Dijon mustard on a baguette. The Greenfields was created by Chrissy Camba, inaugural chef at the new Bar Pastoral slated to open later this month.

    The Great Ladies of Cheese Medley, $44.99
    Inspired by the illustrious forerunners of America’s artisan cheese movement, many of which were women, each cheese featured in this medley is a masterpiece of a talented contemporary female cheesemaker. Medley includes Evalon (Wisconsin), Picolo (California), Grayson (Virginia) and accompaniment Gracious Gourmet Spread (Connecticut). Packaged in an environmentally friendly kraft box with festive craft fill and tied with a signature Pastoral ribbon and an informative insert describing each artisan product, the stories and people behind them and how best to enjoy the products together.

  • My Favorite Cheese: Pleasant Ridge Reserve

    Cheese: Pleasant Ridge Reserve

    Producer: Uplands Dairy

    Milk: Raw Cow's Milk
    Age: 1 Year (sometimes longer for the Extra Reserve)
    Style: Beaufort (French Alpine)
    Rennet: Traditional
    Dodgeville, Wisconsin

    view

    Uplands Dairy was founded in 1994 by Mike and Carol Gingrich along with their dairy neighbors, Dan and Jeanne Patenaude. The dairy was opened as a way to consolidate the milk production of the two neighboring herd. In 2000, Mike and Carol decided it was time to start making the alpine style cheese of their dreams. After working with local cheese makers and with the cheese scientists at the nearby Center for Dairy Research, Pleasant Ridge was born.

    In 2007, Mike and Carol hired Andy Hatch, an aspiring cheese maker with a special interest in Alpine style cheeses. Andy is now the head cheese maker and manager of Uplands Dairy. With three American Cheese Society “Best in Show” wins under his belt, Andy Hatch and Pleasant Ridge Reserve are the most decorated in the American artisan cheese world.

    Uplands Cow

    Uplands Dairy produces cheese from their own herd of cows hailing from nine different crossbreeds. Each breed gives milk that is different in its amounts and types of fat, protein, minerals and vitamins. The cows are also on a grass-based diet, spending their days grazing the beautiful landscape of the Wisconsin Uplands. Uplands Dairy also provides some of the milk used in Willi Lehner's beloved Bleu Mont Dairy cheeses. Pleasant Ridge has been the only cheese produced at Uplands since 2000. That is until 2011 when Rush Creek was released (and will be arriving in stores this week!). Rush Creek is a raw milk, 60 day-aged, Vacherin-style cheese, wrapped traditionally in spruce bark.

    Uplands is a Farmstead creamery: all production is on site from the birthing of calves to the aging of the wheels. When I eat Pleasant Ridge Reserve, I first like to savor the complexity in flavors unadulterated, that is, I eat the cheese by itself. I may have a baguette on the side for good measure. Eating Pleasant Ridge Reserve over time, is like participating in an act of mother nature: there are so many nuances to this cheese, and every time I taste it, there are different flavors. When tasting this cheese I can sense fresh pineapple, grass, mangoes, butter, brioche or just the creamy natural goodness of the milk.

    Nicole Bucci is Pastoral's Senior Manager of Operations. Nicole originally went to school to become a pastry chef, somewhere along the line became acquainted with cheese and has not turned back since.

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