Before I begin, I need to get a few things off my chest… well, actually only one, but it’s a biggie… The Lady has started raiding my pate closet and putting food on the deck for some black cat, with a white collar, that has been coming around and leaving me “notes” around the yard… particularly on the redwood wall that runs along the property. Now granted, that’s the same way The Lady and I became BFFF but… we don’t need another cat around the manse… I sent a message to The Brain requesting some help and guidance and all I got back was, “Be a Tom Cat; Buck it up.” So to the feline interloper that has invaded my deck, I have but one message, “Bite me!!”… and I won’t be leaving it on the back fence… I’ll be leaving it on your pretty little white-collared neck…
Now, onto the tasty cheeses from Master Cheesemaker, Kerry Henning and the crew at Henning’s Wisconsin Cheese. As you may recall, The Lady visited their plant last month and she brought home lots of cheese for The Man and the Feline Foodie (that would be me) to taste and for me to review.
Last summer, The Lady had her first taste of Henning’s cheese when Sarah Kaufmann carved a Mammoth 300 Pound Cheddar Wheel at The Lady’s Store’s Grand Re-Opening. At the time, she had no idea that she would be visiting the factory that made the wheel…
Not part of our cheese plate but an important part of the Henning product line is their cheese curds. The day of the visit, The Lady and her group were treated to warm cheese curds as they came off the production line; still warm, squeaky and fabulous. The best cheese curds are the freshest… although The Lady bought a bag and we munched on them on the flights back from Wisconsin to Portland.
On our cheese plate we enjoyed a variety of flavored cheeses; a specialty of Henning’s.
The first was a Mediterranean Sunset Cheddar; white Cheddar cheese mixed with Kalamata olive and Mediterranean spices. On a cracker, this is one terrific cheese; but I can see it cubed in a Greek-style salad or added to your favorite omelet.
Next we tasted their award-winning Aged Natural Peppercorn. Aged white Cheddar cheese blended with cracked black peppercorn. This cave age type Cheddar has won both U.S. and World Cheese Competition awards.
The third cheese on our plate was the amazing new cheddar: Mango Fire; a White Cheddar with mango and habanero chilies. This cheese starts sweet and ends with a kick from the habanero. Take it from this Feline Foodie, this cheese isn’t for the faint of heart.
The fourth cheese was a white cheddar that had been aged ten years – that’s like seventy on the Mothership… wow… what a sharp cheese… I swear I saw steam coming out of The Man’s nostrils… this cheese is one of those cheeses that leaves blisters on the roof of your mouth… not a bad thing, when it comes to ten-year-old cheese… My question… how do you keep folks away from the cheese for that long? Is it under lock and key? It would never last that long around the manse…
The last cheese on the board was Blueberry Cobbler Heritage Cheddar; White Cheddar cheese blended perfectly with blueberries. This cheese tasted like blueberry cheesecake without sugar… definitely a dessert cheese and a damned fine one, as well.
I read a lot of cheese experts poo-pooing flavored cheeses, but these cheeses are popular and they taste good… what’s not to like??? You can be a snob… more cheese for the rest of us…
All three of us enjoyed this cheese plate and are looking forward to tasting the remainder of the cheeses from this award-winning cheesemaker.
I give the Henning’s Cheese Plate 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (because that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: These are all cheeses that “stand alone” on a board but also can add enjoyment to many dishes including egg, pasta and potato dishes.
Wine Pairing: These are all cheeses that would pair well with a nice table red or with the mango and blueberry, you might even try a port.
Beer Pairing: A strong bottle-conditioned ale with more malt is always a winner with flavored cheddars.
Source: Cow Milk