COLUMBUS, Wisconsin (WXOW) - The artisan cheese movement has been steadily growing in Wisconsin, and one cheesemaker is working hard to bring traditional Hispanic cheeses to his customers.
In this segment of Wisconsin Dairy News, we'll introduce you to Cesar Luis' newest creation.
Cesar Luis always knew he wanted to make cheese. It's a craft that he learned from his grandmother in Mexico when he was seven years old.
Cesar Luis, a cheesemaker says, "That's one of my goals is like I want to make it, I don't want to make it big, but I want to make it right and see how far I go with it. Something that I know I can make…this is my dream and is something like I want to do it!"
In 2008 Cesar began making cheese at a small plant in Shullsburg, which was a 3 ½ hour commute, one-way, from his home. Luckily a new space presented more opportunity.
LUIS: "When we moved to Columbus here at Sassy Cow, we started making all different cheeses. Now we came up with one that looks like Manchego and we call it La Pinta."
A hard cheese with a creamy body and mild salty flavor, La Pinta is distinguished by a distinct basket-weave pattern on the outside of the cheese.
LUIS: "I've been using it as a snack cheese, you can pair it with wine or beer, or you can do cooking, you can do almost anything with this cheese."
Making smaller batches of artisan cheeses, like La Pinta and Queso Oaxaca, is a challenge for this cheesemaker.
LUIS: "For us, because we're very small producers, we don't have the room to make one cheese or one batch of the cheese at a time, so sometimes it's a little bit harder, but we try to get at least two cheeses out of the same batch."
This new Wisconsin Original, La Pinta, may be difficult to get your hands on, but it's well worth looking for. You'll find it in select specialty shops and cheese stores.
"Get a rustic bread, a slice of La Pinta, and you're done! That's perfect!"
And that's Wisconsin Dairy News.
Cesar is currently making 8 wheels at a time with plans to increase production later in the year. Look for Cesar's other authentic Mexican cheeses, handcrafted in Wisconsin.
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