A while back I read an article about a woman and her husband that made time for a wine and cheese course once a week. No kids, no interruptions, just the couple with their favorite wine and cheese. I loved the idea.
Cheese is very important to our family. My husband’s family has been in the Wisconsin cheese business for more than 30 years. We regularly eat Wisconsin cheese, and typically have about 10 or 20 pounds of it in the refridgerator at any given time. No lie. We always have tons of cheese. Except, I can’t eat it because I have an allergy to dairly products.
Determined to make a good thing work, I began to search for alternative cheeses. I discovered through my research that European cheeses are made with out the pasturization process. This not only changes the flavor of the cheese, but enhances the nutritional value. Europeans cheese makers would never use pasturized milk because they know how it alters the flavor of the cheese. American cheese manufacturers are required by law to use the pasturization process, since the early 1900’s. It is unfortunately, the most common cause for allergic reactions in dairy products. I have found that I can eat cheese made in Europe without having an allergic reaction. Also, American cheeses aged for more than 60 days are not required to have pasturized milk in them. We also regularly enjoy goat or sheep cheeses which are great for those who have allergies to dairy.
Thus we have formed a habit. Every Saturday night, we sit down with a select bottle of wine and at least 3 different cheeses. I like to choose a Wisconsin cheese (this we usually have in the refrigerator), but then add a European cheese, and a goat or sheep cheese (sometimes they are made in Wisconsin, and sometimes they are not). I also try to vary the color of the cheeses (white, yellow, etc.), as well as the texture (soft, or semi-soft). Don’t forget the fresh seasonal fruit for a complete course.
It was feeling very tropical here this week with the heat and humidity, so I selected a unique orange, coconut wine by Coco Bay. It was delightful! Light and tropical flavors, just what we needed to go with our fresh strawberries, mangoes and banana slices. For the cheeses we enjoyed Jarlsburg Swiss, Co-jack (a Colby and Monterrey Jack combination), and my favorite Chevre goat cheese.
The wine is available at Aldi’s stores. You can purchase the other cheeses from Costco or Whole Foods, or you can order them from my husband’s family business: Crystal Creek Dairy, W7790 Hwy 33 East, Beaver Dam, WI 53916. Phone is 920-887-2806.