Thursday, June 02, 2011

Serious about Cheese

Okay, no more jokes about Wisconsin cheeseheads. I have seen the light! Yesterday our press group toured Henning's Cheese Factory and I have new respect for Wisconsin cheese.

These people are hard core! Did you know that Wisconsin has a Master Cheese Maker designation? I didn't. This hard-won title takes a minimum of 13 years to achieve. Before you can even be considered for entry into the Masters' program, you have to have had your cheesemaking license for ten years and you must have had five years of experience in the cheese you wish to major in. And that title will only apply to that one cheese. You have to qualify again for different cheeses!

Hennings, founded in 1914, is now owned by the third generation of the family -- with a fourth generation in the wings.

Kert Hennings took us through the plant and gave us a thorough orientation. His brother, Kerry, is a Master Cheesemaker of Colby, Monterrey Jack and Cheddar.

I could now give you a mini-dissertation on the conditions required for excellent cheese but it would be more fun for you to find some Henning's cheese and taste for yourself.

A small operation, they do, nonetheless, supply some very large markets -- some of which sell the cheese under their own label. When I get home, I plan to do some research. I'm now a big Hennings cheese fan and it would be worth the search to find this excellent comestible on my own turf.

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