The Lady met Beth, Sales Manager for Carr Valley Cheese, at the Madison Cheese Trade Show she attended during the WMMB Cheese Tour last month. Beth sent out a generous box of cheeses that Carr Valley makes for The Lady, The Chef, Amy (The Lady’s BCFF) from DPI and most importantly, your favorite Feline Foodie (that would be me) to sample and review.
Before I begin my reviews, I’d like to tell you a little bit about Carr Valley.
Carr Valley Cheesemakers hold the distinction of being honored with the most Cheese Awards of any cheesemakers in the world with over 200 awards. In the past 3 years, Carr Valley has won more than 60 top awards in U.S. and International competitions. Carr Valley is led by 4th-generation owner, Sid Cook, who is one of only 51 Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers ( a rigorous 15-year advanced training and education program – the only one in the U.S.). Sid has quite and imagination when it comes to cheesemaking and he has created many one-of-a-kind artisan cheeses that you won’t find anywhere else. (Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sampling and reviewing many of them.)
Carr Valley makes cheeses made from cow, sheep and goat milks and combines them for some really far-out, terrific cheeses.
Last night The Lady prepared a cheese plate made from four Cow Milk cheeses:
The first we sampled was Monastery Cheese, a washed-rind artisan cheese that is cellar-cured for twelve weeks to create a soft, mellow and slightly pungent aroma and taste. This cheese was The Man’s favorite of the four we tasted. The Lady and I were also quite taken with it.
The aroma was just a bit pungent, in a good way. The cheese is a semi-soft cheese, similar to a Muenster cheese, and melts on the palate with a sweet, mellow taste. This is a terrific cheese. We had it on the new La Panzanella Mini Croccantini Crackers (The Lady chose the Original flavor to keep the tasting clean). She added a few grapes and slices of pears to the plate, which was a perfect pairing for The Man and the Feline Foodie.
I give Carr Valley Monastery Cheese 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: On a cheese plate, natch. With a few fruits and nuts and some crackers. I could also see this being added to a mac and cheese combo to make a nice little punch to your favorite recipe.
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir
Beer Pairing: Bock
Awards: You Betcha
Source: Cow Milk
Second, we tasted the Wildflower Cheddar Cheese and this was The Lady’s favorite. This cheese is made from the milk of cows that graze on the lush spring and summer wildflower pastures of Wisconsin. This intensely yellow cheese was mild and creamy with that fresh taste from cows that are grass-grazed. The Lady swore she could taste the beta carotene and the wildflowers. The Man and I tasted another fine cheese from Carr Valley. Again, the cheese just melts away and leaves such a satisfying aftertaste.
I give Carr Valley Wildflower Cheddar 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: This is a versatile cheese that stands out on a cheese plate and can also be used in cooking. Personally, I don’t think there is anything you can’t do with this cheese.
Wine Pairing: Pinot Gris
Beer Pairing: Cider and/or Pale Ale
Source: Cow Milk
Next up was Carr Valley’s Aged Gouda, always a fave around the manse by all three of the inhabitants: two humankinds and one superior feline alien (The Lady asked, “Feline alien isn’t that being redundant?” She thinks she’s so very cute sometimes… sheesh…)
Carr Valley has another winner with their Aged Gouda. Made with pasteurized milk and then aged to perfection and coated in black wax, this cheese delightfully melts on the palate as its creaminess captures your taste buds. The Lady offered a couple of slices of Boar’s Head prosciutto with this cheese and to no one’s surprise, The Man swooned…
If you are only going to buy on Carr Valley Cheese, this is one you should consider.
I give Carr Valley Aged Gouda 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: Again, this is a versatile cheese that works well on a cheese plate, but also would be bring a new and nice touch to any au gratin dish.
Wine Pairing: The Lady sipped a glass of her favorite 14 Hand Merlot with this cheese… surprise!!
Beer Pairing: The Man recommends a Brown Ale.
Source: Cow’s Milk
And as you might suspect, I saved the “best” for last: Carr Valley Jenny Eye Reserve. This cheese is an Emmenthal-style cheese created by Master Cheesemaker, Tom Jenny and it knocked my socks off. I don’t say this often, but this cheese rivals the great Cave-Aged Emmenthals from Switzerland. It is sweet and nutty with a full, robust flavor that lingers long after the cheese has been eaten. The Lady sells several Swiss cheeses and knows that this one may be too robust for some palates but this is one great cheese for those who love full-flavored cheeses.
I give Carr Valley Jenny Eye Reserve 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: You might want to use this cheese in a Quiche and your favorite fondue. But we enjoyed it last night with grapes and crackers and it was oh, so satisfying.
Wine Pairing: You want a robust Cabernet to stand up to this cheese.
Beer Pairing: Weiss Beer would go well with this cheese.
Awards: My guess, plenty.
Source: Cow Milk
As for this fine cheese plate from Carr Valley, I must give it 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got); I hope all of these cheeses will become regulars at the manse.
Recipe Bonus: Carr Valley Mac n Cheese: The Lady took the four leftover pieces of the cheese today and made a stove-top mac n cheese which we had for lunch. She added a couple Zenner’s Bratwurst links and a few frozen peas. It was a success.
FTC Full Disclosure – The cheesemaker/manufacturer sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.