Cheddar Monday: The Sartori Family of BellaVitano Cheeses Presented by ACS CCP® Marcella Wright:
Monday Cheddars: The Sartori Family of BellaVitano Cheeses:
For the holiday season of 2009, my cheese shop brought in Sartori BellaVitano Gold and BellaVitano rubbed with Black Pepper. It was love at first bite, as I find with many finely-crafted cheeses. The following spring I had the pleasure of visiting the Main Sartori plant in Plymouth where I, along with fellow mongers, was treated to several other flavors including the raspberry BellaVitano – soaked in New Glarus Raspberry Tart. The Sartori chefs had used it in a Raspberry Cheesecake served to us that day. I later made my own version using the Raspberry BellaVitano.
In 2012, we interviewed Owner, Jim Sartori, for our series Meet The Cheesemaker and it was in that interview that I learned one of the secrets as to the bold, nutty sweet notes in BellaVitano. The plant at Antigo is their “secret” weapon… and in 2013, the day before I sat for the ACS CCP Exam® in Madison, I enjoyed spending the day at the Antigo Plant and “making” cheese with two of their Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers, Mike Matucheski and Larry Steckbauer. I am confident that part of the reason I successfully passed the exam was a result of spending that day at Sartori. Concepts in the abstract came together in reality that day; words on pages became real. So… that day I became a Sartori devotee and unofficial Ambassador…
BellaVitano is not a cheddar but a combination of cheddar and parmesan cultures. I asked Mike to share the recipe with me and he just laughed… but that plant is a contribution to what makes BellaVitano such an amazing cheese.
Made with pasteurized milk from local farmers and aged in Antigo, the many flavors of BellaVitano are created by the mad scientists aka Master Cheesemakers, in their small lab within the belly of the plant. I was allowed in but sworn to secrecy about the concoctions they were creating. Many of which would become new flavors.
It’s impossible to choose a favorite flavor: Cognac, Merlot, Raspberry, Bourbon, the original BellaVitano Gold. I have reviewed many of the flavors and you can check out my thoughts and notes here.
But you don’t need to take my word for it… in March 2017, out of 2303 entries at the US Championship Cheese Contest, the Grand Champion was Black Pepper BellaVitano.
Congratulations to our 2017 ACS CCP Exam and Conference Winners: Kelley Jewell, Tyler Frankenberg, ACS CCP® Hazel-Rue Woodies and ACS CCP® Matt Bellingham. Thanks to the generous donations from cheese lovers everywhere, we are thrilled to send these four worthy recipients to Denver this July!!! You can read all the details here.