The day my Holiday catalog from The Wisconsin Cheeseman® arrives is a festive one, indeed. Unfortunately, when I was perusing this inspiring tome last night I had an immediate and unquenchable desire for cheese. I HAD TO HAVE CHEESE RIGHT THEN AND THERE. We only have “lite” Jarlsberg (not so bad as it sounds) and a mild cheddar in the house. But a little bit of each seemed to assuage my desperate need.
Then, back to the brightly coloured pages of the catalog. I must be very honest with you. The Wisconsin Cheeseman® Holiday catalog has a myriad of “corporate” style gift packs – overwhelming displays of cheeses, sausages, crackers and spreads in cheerfully decorated boxes. They often contain, to the chagrin of the true turophile, quite a few cheese “spreads” in lovely foil with misleadingly foreign names that are actually comprised of “pasteurized process cheese food.” Cheese food? That’s just wrong.
One must ignore the “mega-gift-pack” route and take a look at the natural cheese that they make or buy. This is the tantalizing part. Aged cheddar, Longhorn Colby, Country white cheddar, award-winning Provolone, aged cheddar, an aged bleu cheddar (I lust after this one),baby Swiss, ball Gouda, an aged Parrano, artisan rosemary-flavoured white cheddar, REAL brick cheese (made by the ONLY company that still makes authentic brick cheese – they use third generation bricks for pressing), cranberry white cheddar – I could go on and on. They do make some of their own spreads, which I’m guessing are lovely. They also peddle some scrumptious-looking baked goods, including petits fours (I LOVE petits fours). They even carry St. Dalfour’s Conserves (fruit preserves sweetened only with fruit juice – DELICIOUS and JUST FRUIT – P.S. you can buy them locally at a lower price).
There was, however, an artisan cheese that initially gave me pause:
This is Manteche Artisan Cheese. Here’s an excerpt of the catalog description:
Artisans hand-shape warm whole-milk Provolone around a half pound block of unsalted butter. The mild cheese and butter share their flavors as this delicacy ripens.
Cheese filled with BUTTER? Is this excessive decadence? Is this dairy ostentatiousness?
Then I thought about it for a bit. A thin slice of this cheese on an excellent bread? Now that sounds decadently DELICIOUS.