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Cheese Advent 2019

Progressive Dairy Editor Emily Gwin Published on 27 November 2019
Cheese Advent

The grocery store chain ALDI made headlines last year when it released a cheese advent calendar. Given all the buzz, we decided to create our dream advent calendar with cow and goat milk cheeses from farms across the country.

Nominations were provided by Progressive Dairy producer bloggers and staff. They are listed in no particular order.

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Did we miss your favorite? Email Emily Gwin, and we’ll add it to next year’s calendar.

About the cheeses we chose:

Marcoot Jersey Creamery - Cave Aged Alpine1. Cave Aged Alpine
Marcoot Jersey Creamery
Greenville, Illinois

Marcoot Jersey Creamery

From the website: “‘Asiago meets Swiss’ to create this complex cheese, which features a unique sharpness with age. Ideal for grating over pasta or melting into a creamy alfredo sauce or enjoying as a table cheese.”

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“This is one of my favorites as it can sit on a cheeseboard OR can be used in a creamy alfredo sauce. I also love that this cheese is made by fellow female Jersey breeders. Their story is so cool to watch, and they even had an episode on FarmHer’s TV show!”

PHOTO: Courtesy Marcoot Jersey Creamery.

—Nominated by Pennsylvania dairy farmer Renée Norman-Kenny

Caves of Faribault - Jeff's Select Gouda2. Jeffs’ Select Gouda
Caves of Faribault
Faribault, Minnesota

Caves of Faribault

“Joint ventures are nothing new in the dairy industry, but it is unique that a delicious cheese resulted from one. Two states and two Jeffs combined to create Caves of Faribault. Made from pasteurized cows’ milk in Wisconsin and cave aged in Minnesota, Jeff’s Select Gouda is like taking a bite of a surprise!

The natural, annato-rubbed rind gives it a vibrant orange color with an unexpected bold taste that is just a bit salty and delicious. The rich yellow cheese inside is slightly sweet with nutty caramel undertones and a smooth creamy finish.”

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PHOTO: Courtesy Caves of Faribault.

—Nominated by Indiana dairy farmer Sam Schwoeppe

Dango cheese3. Dagano
Michigan State University Dairy Store
Lansing, Michigan

Michigan State University Dairy Store

From the website: “An invention of the MSU dairy. Inspired by Dutch cheeses Gouda & Edam; it is a brined, semi-soft cheese with a smooth elastic body and mild flavor. Like a Swiss, eyes form while aging and contribute to Dagano’s unique aesthetic.”

“Dagano is in the Havarti family (which is my favorite). It’s a little harder than the traditional Havarti and has a yellow color, but it has the smooth, delicious taste these cheeses are known for.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Michigan State University Dairy Plant.

—Nominated by Michigan dairy farmer Ashley Messing-Kennedy

Decatur Dairy - Cheese curds4. Tomato Bacon Basil Cheese Curds
Decatur Dairy
Brodhead, Wisconsin

Decatur Dairy

“I love Decatur Dairy’s fresh and multi-flavored cheese curds. They have so many flavors, it is hard to pick a favorite. This one is their muenster curd with tomato bacon basil flavoring. They are also well-known for their award-winning havarti, muenster and brick cheeses.”

—Nominated by PD Editor Karen Lee

Redhead Creamery - Little Lucy Brie5. Little Lucy Brie
Redhead Creamery
Brooton, Minnesota

Redhead Creamery

From the website: “This smooth and creamy little wheel of brie cheese is extra special to all of us at Redhead Creamery. It’s small, cute and simply irresistible… just like a sweet little girl we know. It’s named after Alise and Lucas’ daughter, Lucy. It’s the perfect sized appetizer for two or three people to enjoy on the grill, baked or simply at room temperature. Enjoy with a glass (or two) of Chardonnay or Frontenac.”

“My favorite brie.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Redhead Creamery.

—Nominated by Wisconsin dairy farmer Amber McComish

Crave Brothers - Marscapone6. Marscapone
Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese
Waterloo, Wisconsin

Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese

From the website: “Our farmstead Mascarpone is crafted from fresh, sweet cream. Luxurious and velvety, perfect for sweet and savory culinary applications. Stir into soups, sauces, pasta, risotto or coffee. Pair with strawberries, honey, ginger snaps, chocolate or lemon.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese. 

—Nominated by PD staff

Muranda Cheese Company - Muranda Blue7. Muranda Blue
Muranda Cheese Company
Waterloo, New York

Muranda Cheese Company

From the website: “The strongest of our cheeses, this cows’ milk blue is one-of-a-kind in the Finger Lakes. Aged for about two months, enjoy this blue with any full-bodied red for a taste that will knock your socks off.”

“Muranda Blue is one of my favorite blue cheeses as it is creamy and delicious if you love a blue cheese! It is delicious to enjoy in their beautiful event barn with a glass of red wine.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Muranda Cheese Company.

—Nominated by Pennsylvania dairy farmer Renée Norman-Kenny

Uplands Cheese - Pleasant Ridge Reserve8. Pleasant Ridge Reserve
Uplands Cheese
Dodgeville, Wisconsin

Uplands Cheese

From the website: “an aged, alpine-style cheese. [It] is made only in the summer months, while our cows are grazing fresh pasture. The sweetness born from the grass-fed milk combines with the savory flavors developed by the cheese’s natural, washed rind. The resulting complexity – rich and salty, with a long, fruity finish – has made Pleasant Ridge one of the most distinctive and celebrated cheeses in the country.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Uplands Cheese.

—Nominated by Wisconsin dairy farmer Amber McComish

Broadrun Farms - Sweet Grass9. Sweet Grass
Broadrun Farms
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Broadrun Farms

“My brother and sister-in-law started making cheese from their organic grazing herd in 2017. Sweet Grass is their newest and best-tasting product to date, in my humble and unbiased opinion. It’s a Gouda style, and a great snacking cheese, as all of the adults and kids in our family can attest.”

PHOTO: By Emily Gwin.

—Nominated by PD Editor Emily Gwin

Eden Creamery - Gouda Aged10. Gouda aged
Eden Creamery
Kuna, Idaho

Eden Creamery

From the website: “Smooth and creamy texture and yet elastic texture.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Eden Creamery. 

—Nominated by Progressive Publishing IT specialist Tor Osthed

Sweet Pea Cheese -Chevre Pear Cardamom with Cinnamon11. Chevre Pear Cardamom with cinnamon
Sweet Pea Cheese
North Granby, Connecticut

Facebook: Sweet Pea Cheese

“If there was ever a perfect cheese for fall, I think this is it. I love the way the sweet pear balances the saltiness of the goat cheese and the cardamom adds a little spice to make the perfect snack with crackers and a glass of fresh apple cider.”

PHOTO: By Leslie Hurty.

—Nominated by PD Editor Jenna Hurty-Person

Brazos Valley Cheese - Marinated Feta12. Marinated Feta
Brazos Valley Cheese
Waco, Texas

Brazos Valley Cheese

From the website: “Our craft feta cheese marinated in olive oil with tomatoes, garlic, and basil, topped off with a pinch of sea salt. Great for salads, snacks, toppings, or straight out of the jar.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Brazos Valley Cheese.

—Nominated by Progressive Cattle Editor David Cooper

Chapel's Country Creamery - Bay Blue13. Bay Blue
Chapel’s Country Creamery
Easton, Maryland

Chapel’s Country Creamery

From the website: “Our natural-rind, beautifully veined blue is a Stilton-style variety with creamy undercurrents.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Chapel’s Country Creamery. 

—Nominated by PD staff

Muranda Cheese - Dilly Girl14. Dilly Girl
Muranda Cheese
Waterloo, New York

Muranda Cheese

From the website: “This medium sharp cheddar with fresh homegrown dill weed and roasted garlic is made from raw milk and offers a mouth full of flavor in every bite. This cheese is a great complement to any full-bodied red, and great on fish.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Muranda Cheese Company.

—Nominated by Pennsylvania dairy blogger Rebecca Shaw

Helvetia Creamery - Apfelheller15. Apfelheller
Helvetia Creamery
Helvetia, Oregon

Helvetia Creamery

From the website: “Our family is now the 6th generation to farm and raise Brown Swiss cows and carry on the tradition of producing Bergkäese (Swiss Alpine cheese) in Helvetia. Apfelheller is a Gruyere style with a delightfully nutty undertone and full-flavored.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Helvetia Creamery. 

—Nominated by PD Editor Audrey Schmitz

Heritage Ridge Creamery - Amish Creamery16. Amish Creamery
Heritage Ridge Creamery
Middlebury, Indiana

Heritage Ridge Creamery

From the website: “a mild cheese that uses selected cultures to develop a ‘buttery’ flavor.”

“This cheese is a great eating cheese. It has a slightly sharp flavor but is so delicious. I love eating it with meat and a well-paired wine.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Michigan Milk Producers Association.

—Nominated by Michigan dairy farmer Ashley Messing-Kennedy

Ballard FAmily Dairy and Cheese - Idaho Golden Greek Grillin' Cheese17. Idaho Golden Greek Grillin’ Cheese
Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese
Gooding, Idaho

Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese

“During a 2015 company meeting, the Progressive Publishing staff was able to visit Ballards’ family farm and sample their cheese. There’s just something seriously cool about being able to fry up cubes of cheese in a pan or throw it on the grill.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Molly’s Mills.

—Nominated by PD Editor Emily Gwin

Marieke Gouda - Marieke Gouda (Plain Young)18. Marieke Gouda (Plain Young)
Marieke Gouda
Thorp, Wisconsin

Marieke Gouda

From the website: “Creamy, buttery and mild with slightly sweet notes. Pair with peach preserves and toasted almonds, buttery Chardonnay or Amber beer.”

“This is my favorite cheese to use when I have guests.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Marieke Gouda, LLC.

—Nominated by Wisconsin dairy farmer Amber McComish

Redhead Creamery - North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster19. North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster
Redhead Creamery
Brooton, Minnesota

Redhead Creamery

From the website: “This award-winning munster cheese was named after our township and the North Fork of the Crow river, based in Redhead Creamery’s back field. Our North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster is a French-style munster that has been washed with local Minnesota 14 Whiskey made at nearby Panther Distillery (Osakis, Minnesota). Its creaminess, stink and pungency are exactly what we are going for. And as a side note… North Fork makes a great grilled cheese and appetizer when warmed up.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Redhead Creamery.

—Nominated by PD Editor Dave Natzke

B Kurt Dairy - Cheddar Cheese20. Cheddar cheese 
B. Kurt Dairy
Barneveld, Wisconsin

Facebook: B. Kurt Dairy

From the website: “Bryanna and Dylan Handel started dairy farming in 2014 with 16 cows and a rented barn. In the last four years, they have grown their family, herd and land base. They started making cheese in 2018.”

PHOTO: By Bryanna Handel.

—Nominated by Wisconsin dairy farmer Brittany Olson

Valley Ford Creamery21. Estero Gold
Valley Ford Creamery
Valley Ford, California

Valley Ford Creamery

From the website: “Estero gold is handmade in the style of an Asiago, reminiscent of a Montasio, two of the famous cheeses from the Swiss-Italian dairy country. Its subtle, creamy and buttery taste nicely complements other foods. Its fine rustic flavor can be paired with any wine. It also melts wonderfully in pastas and polenta, or try it shredded on a salad.”

—Nominated by PD staff

LaClare Family Creamery - Chandoka22. Chandoka
LaClare Family Creamery
Malone, Wisconsin

LaClare Family Creamery

From the website: “Mild, fruity cheese with rich, cheddary notes. The cow milk develops sweet buttery characteristics, as the goat milk develops sweet tangy notes, creating a wonderfully flavorful cheese.”

“This mixed-milk cheese is just right. Not too hard, not too soft. And the goat milk blend deepens and diversifies the flavor beyond what one would expect from a regular cheddar. As a caveat, you can go see for yourself how the cheese is made right at the creamery.”

PHOTO: By Peggy Coffeen.

—Nominated by PD Editor Peggy Coffeen

Rogue creamery - Organic Rogue River Blue23. Organic Rogue River Blue
Rogue Creamery
Central Point, Oregon

Rogue Creamery

From the website: “On October 18, Rogue River Blue was named World Champion at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy, besting 3,800 of the world’s finest cheeses from 42 countries on 6 continents. This is the greatest honor a cheese can receive, and the first time an American-made cheese has been honored with this distinction.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Rogue Creamery.

—Nominated by Progressive Publishing photographer Mike Dixon

Kimberly's Best - Smoked Cheddar24. Smoked Cheddar
Kimberly’s Best
Kimberly, Idaho

Kimberly’s Best Creamery

From the website: “Kimberly’s Best Creamery’s extraordinary milk comes from well-cared-for goats and A1-free milk-producing cows eating only the best quality forages.”

“Try it in ‘Carmel Apple Pie with Smoked Cheddar Crust’ – the recipe can be found on the website.”

PHOTO: Courtesy Kimberly’s Best. 

—Nominated by Progressive Publishing Copyeditor Kelly McCoy

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