Needless to say, one of the first lessons we learned while blogging is that you can't take yourself too seriously. Blogging is about relaxing, being yourself, and giving yourself room to grow. If that means taking really bad photos for almost two years before you finally figure out how to rig up pseudo professional lighting in your dark kitchen, so be it. Have fun. Don't give up. And keep on blogging. In other words, a little bit of "cheese" can be a very good thing.
Speaking of cheese...
Over the weekend, we were treated to a fabulous adventure by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. They took us, along with numerous other Wisconsin food bloggers, on a whirlwind tour of three of Wisconsin's most fabulous creameries -- Chalet Cooperative, Hook's, and Uplands Cheese.
While every one of the creameries had its charms, we were absolutely beguiled by the inner workings of Dodgeville's Uplands Cheese, producer of two of our favorite farmstead cheeses, Pleasant Valley Reserve and Rush Creek Reserve.
What endears Uplands to us in such an intimate way is not only the cheese they produce, but the care with which they produce it. This family-run dairy farm in southwestern Wisconsin cuts absolutely no corners when it comes to the production of their cheeses. In a time when the term "artisan" is slowly losing its meaning, Cheese Maker Andy Hatch uses century-old knowledge to produce Alpine-style cheeses in the most traditional fashion possible without fancy approaches, short-cuts, or pretense.
Modeled after the Beaufort cheese of France, Pleasant Ridge is sweet and nutty with an earthy bite and a long finish. Produced from raw spring and summer milk that carries the flavors of the sweet, tender, sugary grasses of the Driftless countryside, this cheese is all about the milk. As Andy says, "With this cheese, we get out of the way and let the cheese do its thing."
Rush Creek, on the other hand, is made with raw milk from cows who've grazed on fading autumn grasses and hay. Inspired by the French Vacherin Mont d'Or, its flavor is more dependent upon the ripening process, which allows the rich young cheese to age in Spruce bark, imparting a rich woodsy flavor.
Uplands makes its cheese in small batches, the old fashioned way, sacrificing efficiency for the sake of producing a superior product. Their ways are simple, and their cheeses complex and filled with the passion and handiwork that only old-school can produce.
And gosh, that's just the sort of thing we can't get enough of.
Of course, we couldn't end this post without leaving you with a little bit of something in celebration of our 5th Burp-Day. This is the first of
Since June is Dairy Month, we want to give you the opportunity to sample some cheese of your own. So, thanks to the generosity of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, we'll be sharing the wealth.
To enter, simply visit DairyDaysofSummer.com, look through the list of great summer recipes, and leave a comment telling us which recipe you'd like to make first. For a bonus entry, tell us your favorite Wisconsin cheese to take along with you on summer picnics.
You'll have until NOON on June 30, 2012 to enter. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by email, so please leave your email addy with your comment if it's not included with your Blogger profile. Entries from the U.S. only, please.
As an added bonus, all entrants will ALSO be entered to win a grand prize assortment of hand-selected Wisconsin cheeses.
Full Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, who covered all of our expenses related to the aforementioned creamery tours. WMMB also provided us with the products for our giveaway. However, all opinions expressed in this post are our own.
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