Mixed-milk cheese is an interesting gourmet choice for easy party food, especially for cheese and crackers and grilled cheese sandwiches.
If your cheese choices consist of Cheddar, American and Swiss, then it’s time to expand your cheese repertoire.
There is a whole world of cheeses, and many of us just scratch the surface when it comes to trying new types of cheese. The type of milk used in cheese showcases its own flavor profile, whether it’s cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk.
Single-milk cheeses can be amazing and nuanced with aging and by adding herbs, for example. However, when cheesemakers blend milks from different animals, a complexity of texture and flavors open up. Wisconsin cheesemakers are innovating ways to create new craft products, and some are even sharing caves to age their cheeses.
Wisconsin Leads Nation in Specialty Cheese Production
According to the latest USDA figures, American cheese consumption has increased nearly 40 percent over the last 25 years. Not surprisingly, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board reports that Wisconsin is the number-one producer of specialty cheese in the U.S., crafting 46 percent of the nation’s total. Of the state’s 126 cheese plants, 93 of them manufacture at least one type of specialty cheese.
James Robson, chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) said that “Specialty cheeses continue to be responsible for the growth in the total cheese category over recent years, and Wisconsin’s artisan and specialty types have received a growing number of awards in domestic and international competitions, a tribute to the excellence of our state’s cheesemakers.”
Give Mixed Milk Cheese a Try
One of Wisconsin’s most well-known mixed-milk cheeses is called “Mobay,” developed by Master Cheesemaker Sid Cook. Mobay has won many awards and features a layer each of sheep- and goat-milk cheeses separated by a thin layer of grapevine ash. The combination provides a delicate and rustic flavor similar to something one might experience in France or Italy’s wine country. This is a great cheese to get initiated into the mixed-milk varietals. You’ll get rave reviews if you add this special cheese to your next party cheese platter.
Another one of Sid Cook’s mixed-milk cheeses combines all three milks: cow, goat and sheep. “Shepherd’s Blend” is aged for 10 weeks and offers a subtle, yet complex, flavor and excellent melting properties, making it perfect for a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.
Add Variety to a Cheese Platter or Grilled Cheese
When you serve cheese and crackers or use cheese in a recipe, experiment with using a cheese you haven’t tried before. Many delis have cheesemongers who can help you with varying your cheese selection. Mixed-milk cheeses add depth to a cheese platter you may be serving at a party, or even liven up a classic grilled cheese sandwich.