Wisconsin has a long history of cheesemaking. For over 160 years farmers and cheesemakers have been turning excess milk, a benefit of the state's wonderfully grassy farmland, into all kinds of delicious cheese. From American classics like Colby to European styles like Limburger, there are few cheese styles you can't find here.
What started off as a small scale industry has grown to 2.6 billion pounds of cheese per year—that's 25 percent of all domestic cheese. Though the process has changed a bit from the early 1900s, the big industry cheese is starting to focus back on small-batch farmstead practices.
On a recent trip to Wisconsin, I visited many cheese factories both big and small. The cheese scene in Wisconsin is very interesting; you have just about every type of cheese maker represented from the old-school guys like Joseph Widmer, who has been making a couple kinds of cheese in his family for three generations. On the other hand you have large factories like Roth Käse that produce many distinct varieties that cater to a variety markets. No wonder Wisconsinites are called cheeseheads, right?
I ate a lot of cheese on this trip, some so delicious I could eat it for days while others, though delicious, were so strong they are best eaten sparingly.
Check out the slideshow to see my 10 favorites from the trip.
10 Wisconsin Cheeses You Should Try
Uplands Cheese: Pleasant Ridge Reserve
Widmer's: 8-Year-Old Cheddar
Uplands Cheese: Rush Creek Reserve
Widmer's: Foil Aged Brick
Crave Brother's: Petit Frere with Truffles
Widmer's: Brick Spread
Roth Käse: Gran Queso
Roth Käse: Moody Blue
Country Castle: Limburger
About the author:Wes Rowe is a photographer and eater based in San Francisco who believes there is no such thing as too many burgers, and when given the opportunity, likes to spend the whole day smoking brisket. Follow him on instagram @wesrowe
Thank you to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for sponsoring this cheese-filled trip.