If you've been reading our posts for any length of time, you probably know one thing, above all. We. Love. Cheese. As a result, we've taken it upon ourselves to learn as much as possible about all the great cheeses made right here in Wisconsin.
Being the dairy state, we can lay claim to quite a number of original cheeses. One of these is Brick cheese -- a cheese that is made in a brick-shaped form, and pressed under the weight of a brick to form a medium-soft, creamy cheese that is well suited to slicing for sandwiches, making grilled cheese, and using anywhere a great melting cheese is needed. The color of the cheese ranges from pale yellow to white, and the age of the cheese makes a huge difference in its flavor -- with young cheese tasting sweet and mild, and older cheese taking on a strong, ripened flavor with a bit of sharpness on the end.
Widmer's Cheese Cellars in Theresa, WI is the only factory left making real Brick cheese, and we had the opportunity to take a tour of the plant a couple of weeks ago. We got some great shots of the cheese-making process that we thought we'd share with you.
Some facts about Widmer's Cheese Cellars and Brick Cheese:
- Brick is an American original -- developed by John Jossi, a Swiss-born American cheese maker.
- Brick cheese may sound ordinary, but its flavor is enhanced by the same pleasantly pungent bacterial action that contributes to the flavor of the classic French cheeses like Pont I’Eveque, St. Nectaire, Reblochon and Livarot.
- Joseph Widmer represents the third generation in his family to run the cheese plant.
- Joe still uses the same bricks his grandfather bought back in 1922 to weigh down the curds in the cheese molds.
- For more history, visit the Widmer's Cellars web site.
Full Disclosure: The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board covered all of our expenses related to the tour of Widmer's Cheese Cellars. However, all opinions expressed in this post are our own.