Cheddar, Bleu Mont

The son of a Swiss-born cheesemaker, Willi Lehner has had his hands in cheese vats since he was a child. He now makes cheese on a farm sitting atop a ridge near Blue Mounds State Park in the picturesque "Driftless" region of southern Wisconsin. He sources milk for his cheese from four different local dairies, and only from cows that feed on pasture. Lehner ages his wheels in a hand-built underground straw-bale cave, which is lined with cedar boards. The unique walls help control humidity and temperature, both of which are critical to cheesemaking. Committed to sustainable agriculture and renewable energy, Lehner runs the vault and the farm on wind and solar power.

Bleu Mont, a wonderfully sharp and fruity cheddar, is wrapped in cloth and spritzed with a mixture of water and old cheddar rinds, which helps to transfer microbes to the new wheels. The cheese is aged on special spruce boards, and the finished wheels offer notes of toast and nuts, a caramel sweetness and a long earthy finish.

Farm / Company: Bleu Mont Dairy

Cheesemaker: Willi Lehner

Proprietor: Willi Lehner

Affineur: Willi Lehner

City, State: Blue Mounds, WI

Region: Midwest

Country: USA

Milk Type: Cow

Milk Treatment: Pasteurized

Rennet: Vegetarian

Rind: Bandaged

Texture: Firm

Aging: 18 months

Size(s): 10 pounds