Specialty Foods & Gifts
Backed by over 160 years of cheesemaking, Wisconsin is the only state that requires a licensed cheesemaker to monitor every pound of cheese made in the state. The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® Program is a rigorous 3-year course, and apprentices must have at least 10 years of experience before applying. As the only program of its kind outside of Europe, it ensures that the old-world standards of quality and craftsmanship continue to produce the finest cheeses right here in Wisconsin.
With nearly 600 U.S. and world awards between them, meet some of our favorite Master Cheesemakers, and learn more about their award-winning specialty cheeses.
There are only 58 Master Cheesemakers in Wisconsin; Sartori Company has four of them. And these artisans have combined to win the company some of the most prestigious awards not only in the U.S., but in the world. Founded in 1939 in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Sartori is a fourth-generation family-owned and operated company. Sartori’s Italian-inspired cheeses have won more than 200 awards, as well as many more hearts and honors along the way. You owe it to yourself to try some of Wisconsin’s finest.
Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, WI
Drive out into the gently rolling hills of south-central Wisconsin, and you’ll see the bright silos of Decatur Dairy jutting up amidst the lush green farmland. Running this 70-year-old facility is Master Cheesemaker Steve Stettler. Since taking over operations more than 30 years ago, Steve has expanded the facility, raised the number of cheese types produced up to 40, created many new signature cheeses and won countless awards of excellence in U.S. and World Cheese Contests.
In 2016, Steve was honored with the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Life Member Award.
Chalet Cheese Cooperative, Monroe, WI
The Chalet Cheese Cooperative in Monroe, Wisconsin, has been in operation since 1885, and is the only place in the U.S. that still makes Limburger cheese. Master Cheesemaker Myron Olson uses only milk from the Cooperative’s 21 member farms in Green County, from 70% Holstein and 30% Brown Swiss cows. He believes the limestone-filtered water of south-central Wisconsin helps make the best-quality cheese to be found anywhere in the world.
Carr Valley Cheese, La Valle, WI
The most-awarded Master Cheesemaker in the world, Sid Cook is the fourth generation in his family to make cheese over the last 100 years. Combining classic old-world craftsmanship with innovative approaches to cheesemaking, he currently makes more than 80 types, including blends of cow, sheep and goat milk. Under his direction, Carr Valley Cheese has won more than 550 cheesemaking awards from U.S. and international competitions.
© 2016 The Wisconsin Cheeseman