Evalon, Wisconsin

by mncheese on March 31, 2011

in American-Midwest,Bubbly,Cheese!,Drinks!,Goat,Milk,Raw,Vinos,white wines

As Colleen posited in our toast to the women of cheese earlier this month, our gender is a force to be reckoned with in the cheese industry. Further proof came two days after that post, when Katie Hedrich, a 25-year-old cheesemaker from Chilton, Wis., won the 2011 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest. Hedrich, who uses milk from her family’s LaClare Farms to produce the cheese at Saxon Homestead Creamery, wowed the judging panel with her aged goat’s-milk cheese called Evalon, scoring 99.06 points out of a possible 100 and garnering acclaim from cheese lovers nationwide.

Having never tasted this award-winning cheese before (yes, shocking, I know), I grabbed a wedge last week and found the cheese to be quite tasty and intriguing. Described as a Gouda-style cheese with shades of Asiago, Evalon has a light, almost honey-like flavor that is rare among goat’s-milk cheeses. In fact, with its lack of goatiness, I may even be able to get my goat-fearing husband to enjoy it. The cheese’s firm, crystal-less paste gives it a smooth finish, and its sweetness remains on your tongue long after each bite. Evalon expertly balances the line between being accessible for masses and sophisticated enough for the cheese elite. That’s a tremendous accomplishment, especially for such a young cheesemaker like Katie.

Evalon’s delicate flavor matches best with light, fruity white wines or bubblies, or even some sparkling cider. In a recent Heavy Table interview, Katie suggested using Evalon in place of parmesan, and it would also melt nicely into spring vegetable gratins.

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