Rose Bowl Cheese Showdown: Wisconsin vs. Oregon

by mncheese on January 2, 2012

in American-Midwest,American-West,Cheese!,Cow,Entertaining with Cheese,Goat,Milk

Happy new year! For the second year in a row, my beloved Wisconsin Badgers will be playing for football glory in the Rose Bowl. You may remember last year, when the Badgers played Texas Christian University, I marked the occasion with a Wisconsin vs. The South cheese board, featuring Hook’s 7-Year Cheddar vs. Green Hill. Though the outcome wasn’t in my favor, at least the cheese board was a win-win. But this year, things get interesting, for my Badgers are facing off against a mighty foe – Colleen’s Oregon Ducks. It’s a C+C cheese showdown, folks. Who do you think will come out on top?

For such an important game, I’m taking a departure from the obvious this year and not serving Wisconsin cheddar during the game. Blasphemy, you may say, but I’m confident my selections will see my team through to victory.

Marieke Smoked Gouda

Like Colleen, I also have a curd-averse spouse, but he’s always happy when I bring a smoked cheese home from the shop. And since the Rose Bowl is a family event, I decided the Marieke Smoked Gouda would play a prominent role on our game-time cheese board. Made by Dutch immigrants Rolf and Marieke Penterman, who have a farm and cheese-making facility near Thorp, Wis., this signature gouda exhibits a gentle sweetness and creamy paste that are both heightened by the smokiness coming through the back end of each bite. While it would be excellent on a burger, I prefer my smoked cheeses straight up or in a mac. Today it will be featured alongside gluten-free crackers and crispy apples for a healthy game snack. If smoked cheese isn’t your thing, substitute any of Marieke’s award-winning goudas: The smoked cumin variety has received much recent acclaim, and perennial favorite foenegreek is easy to find.

Bleu Mont Dairy Havarti

Wisconsin cheese wizard Willi Lehner is well-known nationally for his bandaged cheddar, but he maintains regular presence at the mammoth Dane County Farmers Market with a variety of cheeses, including one of my favorites, havarti. For those of you who doth protest, proclaiming that havarti is too mild to merit any praise, I challenge you to taste Willi’s version and not become a convert. Yes, it doesn’t have as complex of a flavor profile as the bandaged cheddar, but a chunk of this creamy, sweet cheese with a hearty wheat cracker is pure comfort. It’s not only appropriate for celebrating Badger touchdowns, but it’s also a soothing remedy in case those pesky Ducks are in the lead. (Of course, that’s not going to happen, but I also didn’t think the Horned Frogs would come out on top last year. It’s smart to cover your bases.)

The Dark Side

Not an actual cheese (though wouldn’t that be an awesome cheese name?), but merely my moniker for Colleen’s “Oregon dream team” of cheeses:

Nocciola, Tumalo Farms

Caveman Blue, Rogue River

Up in Smoke, Rivers Edge Chevre

So what do you think, cheese/football fans? Whose team – and cheese board – will emerge victorious tonight? Which cheeses will you be serving during the game?

{ 2 comments }

Alyssa January 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I love the built in rivalry for you ladies today. Being a Sconnie girl, I’m routing for Badgers all the way and you can never go wrong with Marieke’s Goudas! Willi is no slouch either. Let us know how the cheese board competition goes. I’m giving your ManBall cheese ball a go today. I used Carr Valley’s Applewood Smoked Cheddar, some bacon I bought recently from La Quercia, and the last shot of my Maker’s Mark (I needed an excuse to buy a new bottle!). I’m looking forward to seeing what the guys think, thanks for the timely recipe. Go Badgers!!

Cheryl January 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Great new shirt, Jill. How about a picture of you in it with the rest of your boys in theirs?

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