Cheese is a part of the Wisconsin table whether it is a holiday celebration or an average weeknight. What is not on the cheese plate as often is a different variety of cheeses such as ones made with goat and cow milk, or 15 year aged cheddar. Food writer and occasional Lake Effect contributor Jeanette Hurt came by the studio to share a bagful of cheese that is a cut or two – or ten – above that Velveeta that’s sitting in the back of your refrigerator with Mitch Teich.:
When selecting and serving cheese during the holidays, Hurt has a few suggestions:
- With really good cheese (such as an aged cheddar), let it warm up to room temperature before cutting into smaller segments: "One of the reasons cheese was invented was to prevent the spoiling of milk or to use the milk, so it's okay to bring it up to room temperature."
- Use a proper cheese knife: "You want to slice or cut of hunks, but you also don't want to leave the crumbles all over the place."
- Give cheese made with goat milk a try: "What most people don't know about Wisconsin is, besides producing the most cheese, we also produce the most goats milk and most goats milk and cheese milk cheeses."
- Have an equally strong cheese with your strong drink: "You want your cheese to be able to stand up to it and not get lost, such as a Chandoka."
- Treat yourself to a special (and locally made) cheese - the Grand Cru 2016 World Champion. "It's really easy to eat. It also is great for making a winter fondue."
"Why should you just use the cheapest cheddar you can buy for your grilled cheese?" says Hurt.
Jeanette Hurt is a Milwaukee-based food writer. Her books include The Cheeses of Wisconsin and Drink Like a Woman. Hurt will also be hosting a couple of pop-up dinners with chef Ana Docta at Greak Lakes Distillery in early December.