Food writer Jeanette Hurt covers the Wisconsin cheese industry and occasionally visits the Lake Effect studio to offer some suggestions for your next get-together or even your next grilled cheese sandwich.
Hurt suspects that 2018 will be a big year for artisan and flavored cheese. "Not cheddar or colby, but the really good cheeses," she says. "The one's that have really interesting flavors."
Specialty cheese production in Wisconsin increased by seven percent last year, Hurt says, and will more than likely continue to grow.
Helping to supply the demand for specialty cheese, she says, is the rise of the cheese plate. "There were more than 200,000 photos of cheese plates, especially by Millenials, last year. And they expect this trend to grow."
Hurt discusses other cheese trends for the new year, such as cheese and whiskey pairings, and brought along a handful of cheeses to try:
Here are Jeanette Hurt's latest cheese recommendations:
The Blue Jay from Deer Creek Cheese: A Wisconsin cream blue cheese made with juniper berries, "it's a lovely cheese...You don't think of blue cheese as being flavored, but the juniper really compliments the blue." Hurt recommends using this cheese to garnish cocktails, such as stuffing olives to put in a gin martini. She says it is also a good addition to salad or spread over rye toast and crackers with honey to "compliment the sharpness."
Premium gouda from Marieke Gouda: Aged 12-18 months, "it's stronger than the typical gouda, but it's still mild, nutty, but it's going to have more of an enhanced flavor."
Tall Grass Reserve from Landmark Creamery: Cave aged with paprika and olive oil, the cheese is "definitely stronger. This would go really well in a grilled cheese sandwich melted with a sweet jam to contrast its earthiness."
Cave Aged Bandaged Cheddar from Blue Mont Dairy: "It smells like a cave and it's not cheddar like we think of in Wisconsin typically - they are more traditional in England."