WBEZ | cheese http://www.wbez.org/tags/cheese Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Do new FDA actions endanger your favorite cheese? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/do-new-fda-actions-endanger-your-favorite-cheese-110802 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rush-creek.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago cheese lovers looking for some traditional French cheeses may be out of luck this year.</p><p>&ldquo;There are certain cheeses we simply aren&#39;t seeing at all at the moment, like Morbier,&rdquo; says Greg O&rsquo;Neil co-owner of Pastoral Cheese Bread &amp; Wine in Lakeview and the Loop. &ldquo;This is unfortunate, because it is a classic and a mover.&rdquo;</p><p>Newly enforced federal guidelines have <a href="http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/CMS_IA/importalert_9.html">stopped many types of imported </a>raw milk cheeses--including Morbier and Roquefort-- at the border in the last six months due to levels of non-toxigenic E. coli.</p><p>So what&rsquo;s wrong with non-toxigenic E. coli?</p><p>WBEZ asked the Food and Drug Administration and a representative sent this:</p><p>&ldquo;While these bacteria don&rsquo;t cause illness, their presence suggests that the cheese was produced in unsanitary conditions.&rdquo;</p><p>This statement runs contrary to 2009 draft guidance by the FDA stating:</p><p>&ldquo;Because of the close association of raw milk with the animal environment, low levels of <em>Escherichia coli </em>may be present in raw milk or products made from raw milk, even when properly produced using GMPs. However, the presence of <em>Escherichia coli </em>in a cheese and cheese product made from raw milk at a level greater than 100 MPN/g (Most Probable Number per gram) indicates insanitary conditions&hellip;&rdquo;</p><p>And so if, according to this 2009 FDA draft, &nbsp;non toxigenic E. coli numbers under 100 MPN can occur in raw milk cheeses under GMP (good manufacturing practices), why did the FDA move in 2010 to lower that number by 90 percent for all dairy? &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>That&rsquo;s a question the American Cheese Society posed to the FDA last week.</p><p>&ldquo;We want to know if there is research data, linkages to foodborne illnesses or a public health risk,&rdquo; said ACS executive director Nora Weiser. &ldquo;Because it&rsquo;s important for us to know if that exists and if that is why they have lowered this standard.&rdquo;</p><p>But, as of press time, the agency said it was still working on an explanation for its 2010 guideline.</p><p>The American Cheese Society is not the only entity cheesed off by the recent enforcement of the guidelines. Chicagoist writer Erika Kubick detailed her concern <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2014/09/11/the_war_on_raw_cheese_continues.php">here.</a>&nbsp;And the Cheese Importers Association of America is gearing up to confront the FDA soon.</p><p>&ldquo;The CIAA would like to reinforce our concern that the FDA is taking regulatory action without recognizing the historic safety of imported cheeses like Roquefort,&quot; the organization said in a statement. &quot;We completely agree that food safety is at the forefront of this decision. However, as was have done with the <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm400808.htm">wood board aging issue</a>, the FDA is promoting regulation without taking all factors into consideration. This action was discussed at the recent CIAA board meeting, and our concerns will be communicated to the FDA shortly.&rdquo;</p><p>If the presence of non-toxigenic E. coli in raw milk cheese posed a threat to American health, certainly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would know about it, right? Well, not really.</p><p>The CDC had nothing on its website about the bacteria so WBEZ contacted CDC press officer Christine Pearson. She said she would try to get some information on non-toxigenic E. coli but didn&rsquo;t have an easy time of it.</p><p>She wrote back saying: &ldquo;I heard back from one of my experts that nontoxigenic is not a term that we use.&rdquo; Follow up questions last Friday remained unanswered.</p><p>This lack of clarity and explanation isn&rsquo;t just affecting cheese imports. It also prompted award-winning Uplands Wisconsin cheesemaker Andy Hatch to skip making his famous Rush Creek Reserve raw milk cheese this fall.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m intimidated by the lack of consensus or clarity,&rdquo; Hatch told WBEZ&rsquo;s Chewing the Fat food podcast. &ldquo;I think most cheesemakers are saying the same thing. We&rsquo;re not exactly sure how they&rsquo;re approaching these cheeses...And it&rsquo;s also so perishable so that if anything should hold up shipment, the window for sale is really tight, and so one little hiccup and you&rsquo;ve spoiled months of work.&rdquo;</p><p>International cheesemakers whose products have been &ldquo;Red Listed&rdquo; by the non-toxigenic E. coli guidelines have already been hurt by this hiccup. The questions remains, why?</p><p>Consumers who want to comment on the FDA rules can still do so <a href="http://http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2009-D-0466-0008.">here</a>.</p><p><em>WBEZ will stay on this story and update it when the FDA responds to the American Cheese Society on the problems posed by exceeding 10 MPN per gram of non-toxigenic E. coli in raw milk cheese.</em></p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/do-new-fda-actions-endanger-your-favorite-cheese-110802 Limburger: This cheese stands alone, but perhaps not for long http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-11/limburger-cheese-stands-alone-perhaps-not-long-103648 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/sets/72157631804403367/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/limburgercloche.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Limburger under cloche at Chalet Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><blockquote><p>The cheese stands alone.<br />The cheese stands alone.<br />Heigh ho, the derry oh,<br />The cheese stands alone.</p><p>&mdash; &quot;The Farmer in the Dell&quot;&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p>Inspired by my recent roadtrip quest for new American cheese on the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-10/young-americans-2012-rush-creek-reserve-uplands-cheese-103351">Wisconsin cheese trail,</a> I dressed as a <a href="http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152224308440532&amp;set=a.10150742783180532.721091.777685531&amp;type=1&amp;theater">Limburger cheesemaker</a> for Halloween this year, complete with a ripe 5-month aged Limburger. I carried the brick around in an airtight container, offering a slice to any brave soul. While I love the full flavor of this notoriously stinky cheese, even I have to admit that out of context, it can be scary stuff indeed. In fact, Mark Twain wrote about a maddening disembodied Limburger in his gothic short &ldquo;<a href="http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/mtwain/bl-mtwain-invalid.htm">The Invalid&rsquo;s Story</a>.&rdquo;</p><p>At&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eatwisconsincheese.com/wisconsin/artisans/Results.aspx?artisan=16">America&#39;s only Limburger plant &mdash; Chalet Cheese in Monroe, Wis.</a>&nbsp;&mdash; I ate it for breakfast, sliced on brown bread, with mustard and strawberry jam, while hearing some of its history from <a href="http://www.eatwisconsincheese.com/wisconsin/masters/results.aspx?variety=33">Myron Olson</a>, one of only 52 Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers, and the only one certified in Limburger.</p><p>Since that morning, I learned it was a Chicagoan, James L. Kraft, who one might say nearly killed Limburger in this country, but on the Wisconsin trail I discovered a pairing that may revive this cheese, and it may even thrive again, thanks to our city&#39;s old and new food culture.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/limburgertastingspread.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Three month aged Limburger on brown bread with honey mustard and strawberry preserves (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">You may remember WBEZ&#39;s own <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frying/braving-stinkiest-cheeses-100758">Nina Barrett </a>tasted the same breakfast of champions, after an attempt to find Limburger in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.limburg.de/startseite.phtml">Limburg, Germany</a>. There she was told by a whisky shop owner that the cheese is not from there. &quot;Limburger cheese you only find in the Netherlands, in Limburg &mdash; in the other city,&quot; he said. Well, he was partially right. Limburger cheese is widely believed to have been first made in the historic Duchy of Limburg, an area that now spans across areas of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/limburgerjammustard.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Limburger cheese with strawberry jam and mustard on brown bread at Chalet Cheese Co-op in Monroe, Wis. (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">Limburger was <a href="http://www.classicwisconsin.com/features/stinks.html">first made in this country in 1867 by Swiss immigrants</a> in the same county where Chalet Cheese now stands alone. By the 1920s, they were making more Limburger in Green County than Swiss cheese, to meet the demand of European laborers who ate Limburger sandwiches in taverns across the country, while drinking locally brewed beer.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/limburgermyronolson.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Limburger cheesemaker Myron Olson at Chalet Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Then came Prohibition and there went Limburger cheese, legend has it. But Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933, so the dates don&#39;t quite add up. It&#39;s more likely that changing tastes, the pressure to assimilate, and World Wars all added to the decline of Limburger in America.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/limburgersmearboard.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px; " title="Limburger smear board at Chalet Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">And then there was <a href="http://www.kraftfoodsgroup.com/About/history/JLKraftBio.aspx">J.L. Kraft</a>, who cleaned up cheese. In 1916 he patented a process for pasteurizing cheese, so it could be shipped and sold long distances. Kraft processed cheese was born.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">But as late as 1947 Kraft Foods built what they hoped was the best and most modern Limburger factory in the world, the current Chalet plant, and replaced the old pine curing boards with new ones. Olson says the result was failed green cheese. Luckily they&#39;d saved the old boards and they&#39;ve been in use ever since.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The bacteria in the smear wash used at Chalet is even older, <a href="http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/roundtable/the-cheese-that-stands-alone.php">first cultivated in 1911, 101 years ago</a>.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/limburgerverticaltasting.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Limburger vertical tasting, left to right: 2 month, 3 month, and 5 month at Chalet Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Olson offers a vertical tasting of his Limburger, aged 2, 3, and 5-months old. At its youngest, it&#39;s like feta, but older it&#39;s impressively pungent and flavorful.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" at="" chalet="" cheese="" class="image-original_image" limburger="" louisa="" old="" spread="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/limburgeramishspread.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Amish Country Old Fashioned Limburger spread at Chalet Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" wbez="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Kraft Foods once made a Mohawk Valley brand Limburger pasteurized process cheese spread, but now discontinued. It was reminiscent of the Limburger cheese once aged in Mason jars for maximum punch.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/limburgerspreadcracker.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Limburger cheese spread on cracker at Chalet Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">A new Limburger cheese spread hit the market in 2008. Amish Country Limburger spread is a blend of Limburger and white Cheddar. It&#39;s mild in comparison to its namesake, but a promising start to what may be a renaissance.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/newglarusbock.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Seasonal Back 40 beer at New Glarus Brewing Company in New Glarus, Wis. (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">The classic pairing to Limburger is Bock, a strong German beer style. What should I discover on the Wisconsin cheese trail but the seasonal <a href="http://www.newglarusbrewing.com/index.cfm/beers/ourbeers/beer/back-40">Back 40 at New Glarus Brewing Company</a>, a mere 10 miles north of Chalet Cheese.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">With our new interest in local <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/chicagos-incredible-expanding-beer-scene-99018">craft beers</a> and artisan cheese, plus old German roots, could Chicago finally revive Limburger cheese? You can&nbsp;find Chalet&#39;s Limburger at <a href="http://www.genessausageshop.com/">Gene&#39;s Sausage Shop</a>, the original&nbsp;on Belmont and in Lincoln Square.&nbsp;</div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/limburgerchaletcoop.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="America's Only Limburger Cheese Plant, Chalet Cheese Co-op in Monroe, Wis. (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 12 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-11/limburger-cheese-stands-alone-perhaps-not-long-103648 Young Americans: 2012 Rush Creek Reserve at Uplands Cheese http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-10/young-americans-2012-rush-creek-reserve-uplands-cheese-103351 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uplandsrushcreeks_1.jpg" style="width: 620px; " title="Rush Creek Reserve 2012 at Uplands Cheese near Dodgeville, Wis. (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p>Cheese connoisseurs:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uplandscheese.com/cheese.html">Rush Creek Reserve</a>&nbsp;season has begun. First released last Wednesday, this rich, raw, autumn milk cheese has aged just 60 days, the minimum requirement. Furthermore, <a href="http://www.wispecialtycheese.org/meet-the-cheesemaker/andy-hatch-uplands-cheese/">cheesemaker Andy Hatch</a> himself will be in town <a href="http://pastoralartisan.com/events/american-cheese-month-tasting-uplands-dairy-loop">this Friday at Pastoral in the Loop</a> for an <a href="http://www.uplandscheese.com/index.html">Uplands Cheese</a> tasting, including their award-winning firm and nutty <a href="http://www.uplandscheese.com/cheese.html">Pleasant Ridge Reserve</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>I visited Hatch at Uplands near Dodgeville, Wis. &mdash; about 300 miles northwest of Navy Pier, an hour&#39;s drive west of Madison &mdash; on an intense cheese tour last week. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eatwisconsincheese.com/">Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board</a>&nbsp;invited me to see and taste firsthand the new American cheese movement.</p><p>The first time we spoke, Hatch said he&#39;s a big fan of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me/"><em>Wait Wait</em></a>&nbsp;and listens while making cheese. Later he clarified: They only listen while cleaning. He said can&rsquo;t listen while actually making cheese because he needs to concentrate and Peter Sagal is too distracting. So it&rsquo;s music while cheesemaking for Hatch, <a href="http://www.pointfiveband.com/article-blog.php?id=3&amp;menu=Band%20Bios&amp;parentid=2">who&#39;s also a musician</a>, and <em>Wait Wait</em>&rsquo;s humour while cleaning. &ldquo;It makes us scrub harder,&rdquo; he said.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uplandsrushspoon.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Spoonful of Rush Creek Reserve 2012 at Uplands Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Uplands is unusual in that they keep 150 of their own cross-bred, free-range, grass-fed dairy cows, which provide all the raw milk they use to make their cheese. When pasture conditions aren&rsquo;t ideal, as they weren&rsquo;t this summer with the drought, resulting in milk not up to their standards, they sell it, and consequently make less cheese.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uplandsrushtrio.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Three days of Rush Creek Reserve at Uplands Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Uplands made only one kind of cheese for 10 years, Pleasant Ridge. Inspired by the French Alpine Beaufort cheese, it&rsquo;s won the Oscar of the cheese world, Best of Show from the<a href="http://www.cheesesociety.org/"> American Cheese Society</a>&nbsp;an unprecedented three times &mdash; so far.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uplandspleasantbaton.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Baton of Pleasant Ridge Reserve at Uplands Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">And then in 2007 along came Hatch and the rest is new American cheese history in the making. Having apprenticed throughout Europe, he wanted to create an American version of Vacherin Mont d&#39;Or, the fabled, velvety cheese that&#39;s traditionally made as a cold weather complement to Beaufort. He uses only rich autumn milk, produced while the cows transition from grass to hay. He made his last Rush Creek Reserve cheeses of the season last Thursday. They&#39;ll age the minimum 60 days required by federal law then sell out as soon as they hit shops, sometimes before.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uplandspleasantslices.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Cheesemaker Andy Hatch slices Pleasant Ridge Reserve at Uplands Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">His first attempts in 2009 resulted in about half fed to their pigs. The pigs are normally fed whey, another traditional cycle of farmstead cheesemaking. In 2010 Rush Creek Reserve was first released to critical acclaim.&nbsp;Wrapped with a strip of the same spruce bark used on French Vacherins, Rush Creek is full and fatty, filled with smoky, savory flavor. Hatch says this style was originally created by monks who didn&rsquo;t eat meat, so they summoned a mighty, cured-meat-like cheese.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uplandspleasantwash.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Brine washing Pleasant Ridge Reserve at Uplands Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Pleasant Ridge is normally made in ten-pound rounds but Hatch made two 80-pound wheels to celebrate the birth of his and his wife Caitlin&#39;s first child last November, their son Augie. Both Pleasant Ridge and Rush Creek are hand washed with the same brine solution and aged side by side in the same caves.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uplandspleasant80.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="80 pound wheel of Pleasant Ridge Reserve at Uplands Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">One giant wheel was cut at <a href="http://fromagination.com/">Fromagination cheese shop</a> in Madison last Friday for their fifth anniversary. The other he says he&rsquo;ll probably cut for Augie&rsquo;s third birthday.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uplandsandyfromagination.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Cheesemaker Andy Hatch with Pleasant Ridge Reserve 80 pound quarter wheel and slice at Fromagination in Madison, Wisconsin (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Please note that Uplands is a small working dairy farm and cheesemaker. They cannot give tours to the public. They do not even sell their cheese on the farm. You can however order directly or find them locally at <a href="http://www.pastoralartisan.com/">Pastoral</a>, <a href="http://www.provenancefoodandwine.com/">Provenance</a>&nbsp;or <a href="http://marionstreetcheesemarket.com/">Marion Street Cheese Market</a>. I&#39;ll share more from the cheese tour in future posts.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Hatch likes to say Pleasant Ridge is made in the pasture while Rush Creek is made in the cave. After my visit, I&rsquo;d say his cheese is made in his soul, infused with music and good humour.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/uplandscowspasture.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px; " title="Mixed breed cows at Uplands Cheese (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 24 Oct 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-10/young-americans-2012-rush-creek-reserve-uplands-cheese-103351 Braving the stinkiest of the cheeses http://www.wbez.org/frying/braving-stinkiest-cheeses-100758 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6007_Limburger Cheese 066-scr_0.JPG" style="height: 450px; width: 600px; margin: 5px;" title="At Baumgartner's, Limburger sandwiches come with a free side of jokes. (Photo by Nina Barrett)" /></div><p style="text-align: left;">A few years ago on a trip to Germany, my husband convinced me to get on a train to the town of Limburg and look for people to talk to about Limburger cheese. Limburger has always been the most hilarious of the cheeses, stinky enough to knock down comedians like Abbott and Costello with a single whiff.</p></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><p>But the thing about Limburger, said my husband, who lived in Germany for 20 years and knows a lot of stuff like this, is that it doesn&rsquo;t <em>have</em> to smell and taste like sweaty gym socks. &ldquo;In Germany,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;they sell it freshly made when it&rsquo;s mild and delicious, almost like brie! You could go talk to some farmers or cheese-mongers and do a story on, like, the Lighter Side of Limburger!&rdquo;</p><p>And so I jumped on a train and spent an hour wandering the quaint streets of Limburg, with all my recording equipment at the ready. But something seemed seriously amiss. There were pastry shops and grocers, dress shops, china shops, candle shops, even a French chocolate shop &mdash; but no sign, anywhere, of cheese.</p><p>How could this be, I wondered? Surely no matter how bad it smells, how off-putting it might be to tourists from less cheese-friendly countries, they couldn&rsquo;t be hiding all the Limburger cheese in Limburg!</p><p>Finally I stopped into a boutique whisky shop and asked the owner why I couldn&rsquo;t find so much as a lump of Limburger cheese in Limburg:</p><p>&quot;Because Limburger cheese is not a product from Germany, it&rsquo;s a product from the Netherlands,&quot; the shop owner said. &quot;A lot of people come here, to Limburg in Germany, and want to try some Limburg cheese, and I always have to talk to them. Limburger cheese you only find in the Netherlands, in Limburg&mdash;in the other city.&quot;</p><p>So, having been <em>an entire country</em> off-base, some people might have given up.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6008_Limburger Cheese 068-scr.JPG" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Baumgartner's classic Limburger sandwich with slices of Braunschweiger sausage and the complimentary breath-cleansing mint. (Photo by Nina Barrett)" />But when I spotted a magazine article recently saying that the only town in America where Limburger cheese is produced is just over the Illinois-Wisconsin border, I was SO right there.</div></div></div></div><p>Limburger cheese sandwiches are one of the signature menu items at <a href="https://baumgartnercheese.com/">Baumgartner&#39;s Cheese Store and Tavern</a> in Monroe, Wisc. John Rosa has been serving them up for 10 years and personally, he loves the stuff. But he doesn&rsquo;t try to pretty it up for the customers.</p><p>&quot;My guess is that some cheese maker way back just scratched his feet in the middle of the day and got his hands in the vat, and a few months later, the rest is history,&quot; Rosa said, adding, &quot;I always like to tell people that after they have a free sample in their mouth&mdash;while they&rsquo;re eating it.&quot;</p><p>Baumgartner&rsquo;s makes the same Limburger sandwich that was served by the millions to America&rsquo;s workingmen a century ago at the peak of its popularity. That&rsquo;s runny, room temperature Limburger on rye with slices of Bermuda onion. It comes with a choice of brown horseradish mustard or sweet-hot honey mustard, and a breath-cleansing complimentary mint &mdash; not, Rosa mutters as I start to chew, that it&rsquo;s going to do me any good.</p><p>&quot;Oo, that&rsquo;s a bad face,&quot; Rosa said. &quot;And that was the mustard side or the sweet-hot side? Well, maybe you&rsquo;ll like the other side better.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s almost not a taste,&quot; I told him. &quot;It&rsquo;s just this mouthful of, like, pungent gas!&quot;</p><p>This is definitely NOT the Lighter Side of Limburger &mdash; unless you count all the Limburger jokes that come free with the sandwich.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6003_Limburger%20Cheese%20023-scr.JPG" style="margin: 5px; height: 225px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Myron Olson, Master certified Limburger-maker, puts the stink on the Limburger in the curing cellar. (Photo by Nina Barrett)" />But if you&rsquo;re willing to get up at 4 in the morning, when cheese making starts at the <a href="http://www.eatwisconsincheese.com/wisconsin/artisans/Results.aspx?artisan=16">Chalet Cheese Co-op</a> just outside town, you can get an earful &mdash; and a noseful &mdash; from America&rsquo;s only certified master Limburger-maker himself: Meet Myron Olson, Wisconsin Master Cheese Maker in Brick, Baby Swiss and Limburger.</div></div></div><p>Olson can show you everything you ever wanted to know about the process: from mixing the rennet into 2,000-gallon vats of milk, to pumping the curds into molds, to the real heart of the action.</p><p>You can hear the dripping sound in the background as he takes me into what he calls &quot;Our Limburger Curing Cellar. It&rsquo;s basically where we put the stink on the Limburger.&quot;</p><p>I yell out, &quot;OH MY GOODNESS!&quot; and take another deep breath.</p><p>&quot;It does have an odor!&quot; Olson said.</p><p>&quot;You can smell the Limburger in here!&quot; I tell him.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6001_Limburger%20Cheese%20004-scr.JPG" style="float: right; height: 266px; width: 200px; margin: 5px;" title="Mixing the rennet into a 2,000-gallon vat of fresh, whole milk. (Photo by Nina Barrett)" />&quot;When it&rsquo;s first made it&rsquo;s a bright white,&quot; Olson said. &quot;And what we do in here is, we inoculate them with a bacteria smear-water, the bacteria is a <em>B. linens</em> that grows on the surface.&quot;</div></div><p>Incidentally, the bacteria that puts the stink on the Limburger literally IS the same bacteria that causes human body odor and sweaty gym socks. Ironically, it&rsquo;s not the actual stink but the stigma that handicaps Limburger sales these days.</p><p>&quot;People, when they hear of Limburger, they kind of,&nbsp; &#39;Nah, that&rsquo;s ok, I&rsquo;ve heard all the stories about it, I&rsquo;m not gonna try it.&#39; But if I took my Limburger and put a label on it that said &#39;St. Michael&rsquo;s Reserve,&#39; people would say, &#39;Oh, that sounds different, it&rsquo;s cave-cured, washed-rind, that sounds good, lemme try it. It stinks, but boy, it tastes good,&#39; &quot; Olson said.</p><p>&quot;So have you ever considered doing that?&quot; I asked.</p><p>&quot;You know, I did actually at one time, I thought about it,&quot; Olson said. &quot;But I don&rsquo;t have the big marketing that occurs ... for me, it was kind of like: Limburger is what we do, we&rsquo;ve been doing it a hundred years, we&rsquo;re gonna stay on Limburger.&quot;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Limburger Cheese 011.JPG" style="height: 150px; width: 200px; margin: 5px; float: right;" title="Cheese makers Jaimie Castellanos and Ron Boeck. (Photo by Nina Barrett)" /></div>So Olson did something else clever with his label: He added a guide for using the sell-by date to find your own Limburger comfort level. If you can&rsquo;t handle what he calls &ldquo;Die-hard&rdquo; &mdash; the runny, full-strength way they serve it over at Baumgartner&rsquo;s &mdash; try stage one, when the cheese is only a few weeks old and actually has a very mild, yeasty smell and taste.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s what Olson calls &ldquo;Beginner Limburger.&rdquo; At stage two, when it&rsquo;s about two months old, it&rsquo;s just beginning to stink.</div><p>&quot;Now I might wanna have you try a little strawberry jam with that,&quot; Olson said. &quot;There you go.&quot;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;That&rsquo;s REALLY good! That&rsquo;s shocking! But the sweet and the salty&hellip;&quot; I said.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;And that earthy tone...&quot; Olson said.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6004_Limburger Cheese 034-scr.JPG" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Unwrapping a block of Die-hard, Stage Three Limburger. (Photo by Nina Barrett)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;That&rsquo;s really, really good!&quot;</div></div><p>So it turns out that if you want to discover the Lighter Side of Limburger, you don&rsquo;t have to go off on some wild goose chase to Germany &mdash; oh, excuse me, The Netherlands.&nbsp; Just read the label and dab on a little strawberry jam.</p><p>And if you&rsquo;re feeling brave, go ahead and try it Die-hard. I mean, what&rsquo;s the worst that can happen?</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 11 Jul 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/frying/braving-stinkiest-cheeses-100758 Going to Mars...Cheese Castle, that is http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-05-09/going-marscheese-castle-86086 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-08/cheesecastle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="336" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-04/4644484638_71a63f3beb.jpg" title="glorious curds and whey, from the Mars Cheese Castle" width="365"></p><p>Now that&nbsp;the warmer weather is finally here, it's about that time of year when planning for summer vacations and weekend getaways begins. If you're a Chicagoan, chances are if you've ever made your way to Lake Geneva, the Dells or anywhere else in&nbsp;Wisconsin,&nbsp;you've passed the Mars Cheese Castle. It may seem a little touristy (and forgive the pun, but also a little cheesy), yet it now claims snazzier digs in a renovated building that literally looks like a castle; it's worth a visit.</p><div>The obvious choice is the cheese, but Mars offers much more than the traditional aged cheddar. The fruit-filled cheeses are both tart and sweet. Crumbly white cheddar is filled with apricot and ginger, cranberry, blueberry or cinnamon apple. The bakery is serving up fresh coffee cakes, cookies and a sliced cheesy bread. Mars is also a good place to stock up&nbsp;on beer from the New Glarus brewery. If you've never sampled the craft beer, their famous Spotted Cow is a great place to start.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If you're stopping for a bite to eat, the menu is limited, but there are a few standouts. The classic ham and cheese is simple but done right with a tender shaved ham and your choice of melted cheese. For something different, yet still very Sconny, the cheddar-bacon-jalapeño bratwurst is an extremely flavorful sandwich. It's crispy on the outside and bursting with juices upon the first bite. Like all sandwiches, it comes with a choice of chips or two different types of homemade potato salad. The problem with stocking up here on a road trip is that not all of the snacks will end up making their way home. Intermittent nibbling is expected.</div></p> Mon, 09 May 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-05-09/going-marscheese-castle-86086 Top 5 places for cheese http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/top-5-places-cheese <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//cheese.jpg" alt="" /><p><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><img height="266" width="400" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-January/2011-01-19/cheese.jpg" title="" alt="" /></div><div style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;">With the Cheeseheads coming to town this weekend to face the Bears, it will be an EMMENTAL order to keep them all well-fed.&nbsp; Mainly BRIEcause they all have such high standards when it comes to curds.&nbsp; Wanna know what really gets my GOAT? The notion that the yahoos from the Fox GRUYERiver Valley have a more plentiful supply of high-quality cheese than we do in Chicago. No&nbsp;WHEY! It takes a real MANCHEGO to fess up and say Chicago has Green Bay beat when it comes to world-class cheese. If you really want to get your fondue on, (and pair it with the appropriate fig conserve, fruit preserve and marcona almonds), check out one of these local gems:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>1.<a href="http://us.mg1.mail.yahoo.com/dc/www.pastoralartisan.com/">&nbsp;Pastoral</a>,&nbsp;2945 N. Broadway,&nbsp;(773) 472-4781; 53 E. Lake St. (312-658-1250); Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton (312-454-2200)<br />&nbsp;</div><div>2.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.marionstreetcheesemarket.com/">Marion St. Cheese</a>,&nbsp;100 South Marion Street, Oak Park, (708) 725-7200</div><div><br />3.<a href="http://www.fox-obel.com/">&nbsp;Fox &amp; Obel</a>, 401 E. Illinois, (312) 410-7301&nbsp;</div><div><br />4.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.binnys.com/">Marcey St. Market</a>&nbsp;(Inside Binny's)&nbsp;1720 N. Marcey St.,&nbsp;(312) 664-4394</div><div><br />5.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.caputocheese.com/">Caputo Cheese Market</a>,1931 N 15th Ave., Melrose Park (708) 450-0469</div><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="266" width="400" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-January/2011-01-20/cheese.jpg" title="" alt="" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<em>&nbsp;(Raclette from Pastoral, photo by Joseph Storch)&nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">Incidentally, Pastoral is having a raclette party at all of their locations this weekend.</p><div><table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" style="font: inherit;"><div id="yiv1513081973"><table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0" class="yiv1513081973" id="yiv1513081973bodyDrftID"><tbody><tr><td style="font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-family: arial; font-size: 10pt;" id="yiv1513081973drftMsgContent"><a href="http://www.pastoralartisan.com/calendar.shtm">http://www.pastoralartisan.com/calendar.shtm</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 20 Jan 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/top-5-places-cheese The Challenge of Choosing a Cheese (illegal or not) http://www.wbez.org/dhammond/2010/02/the-challenge-of-choosing-a-cheese-illegal-or-not/15811 <p><p style="text-align: left;"><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Slices.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-15819" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 7px;" title="Slices" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Slices.jpg" alt="" width="490" height="367" /></a>It's a foodie article of faith that when it comes to younger cheeses, raw milk will always make a better cheese than pasteurized milk. To test that belief, I found a cheese-maker who agreed to prepare two pairs of camembert, using the same techniques and milk from the same cow: one would be made of raw and the other of pasteurized milk. After 30 days, I performed a taste test with foodies, chefs and some local cheese mongers to see if the differences were apparent; the results of the taste test can be <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/program_wv.aspx">heard on Worldview</a>, along with some insights into why it's illegal to sell raw milk cheese aged under 30 days -- and what we're missing by not having young raw milk cheese commercially available in the United States.<!--break--></p> During the production of this piece, my friend Michael Gebert videotaped the underground cheese-making process, and it can be viewed here and on <a href="http://skyfullofbacon.com/blog/?p=366" target="blank">skyfullofbacon.com</a>. Co-nominated for a James Beard Foundation multimedia award, Gebert's video blog documents the people and issues behind food in the Midwest. <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="500" height="281" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=8878034&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="281" src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=8878034&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object> Singer songwriter James Farrell composed this cheese-appropriate tune, "Choosing a Cheese," which closes the Worldview segment. Check it out. <a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Choosing-a-Cheese-final.mp3">Choosing a Cheese (final)</a></p> Mon, 22 Feb 2010 11:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/dhammond/2010/02/the-challenge-of-choosing-a-cheese-illegal-or-not/15811 Wait, when did Olympic hockey go all NHL? http://www.wbez.org/jkaufmann/2010/02/wait-when-did-olympic-hockey-go-all-nhl/15677 <p><strong>Top story:</strong> I'm guessing Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook aren't coming back to the Blackhawks. I think they are going to spend the rest of their lives in a Canada jail for <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/olympics/2062055,us-canada-olympic-hockey-022110.stng" target="_blank">losing last night</a> (insert funny quip about Canadian jail here).‚  My favorite was watching the post-game show on MSNBC. They went to a reporter outside the arena to find out how Canadians were taking the loss and a bunch of drunk hockey fans were having the time of their young, Canadian lives just screwin' with said reporter. And on a related note, I saw the documentary NBC did on the 1980 USA team. It was so much cooler that they weren't NHL stars when they won. When did that change?‚  I don't know my winter sports, sorry.‚  But I am diggin' the Olympics,‚  just don't show me ice dancing anymore. I can't take it. <strong>B story:</strong> In a surprise move, a judge has <a href="http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/02/hearing-in-nu-journalism-students-case-moved-to-monday.html">moved up the hearing</a> for the NU students who are being accused of bribing witnesses and coming up with false evidence to get a better grade. It will be interesting to see what happens today. The original date was supposed to be March 10. <strong>C story:</strong> Jewel-Osco is <a href="http://www.chicagobreakingbusiness.com/2010/02/jewel-osco-to-lay-off-110-store-directors.html" target="_blank">laying off 110 store managers</a>. That's a bummer. I hope the grocery stores don't go the way of the CTA and start automating all of their in-store pagings. One of my favorite moments of the Chicago grocery store experience is when a manager gets on the loudspeaker to call 'Mike from grocery" about a spill in aisle 14. And it's obvious this isn't the first page, judging by the tone. If that goes automated like the CTA trains and buses? I'll start doing Peapod.<!--break--> <strong>D story</strong>: <a href="http://skyfullofbacon.com/blog/?p=366" target="_blank">Illegal cheese</a>, anyone? David Hammond is going to be on <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/worldview">Worldview</a> today talking about it. <strong>Weather: </strong>Was it awful today? I hate taking the CTA Red Line on snowy days. How about the expressways? And please, don't get me started on the South Shore. But on a serious note, the Trib is reporting that a <a href="http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/02/accident-closes-southbound-lanes-of-lake-shore.html" target="_blank">police officer died</a> after crashing into a tree this morning off of Lake Shore Drive. Think about that when you are cursing the commute. <strong>Sports: </strong>This is about the time I start getting interested in <a href="http://espn.go.com/chicago/" target="_blank">college basketball</a>. Right? Now you are starting to see who the players are gonna be come March Madness. Kansas and Kentucky look to be the favorites. Big Ten's Purdue and Ohio State (and Mich. St) are pretty good and the Illini are better than expected with an outside shot at the Big Ten crown, although those hopes are fading. All local eyes are on Northwestern, which has a bubble record. They are becoming a story because we found out this year that the Wildcats are the only BCS team in history to NEVER make the tournament. Wow. That's a sucky basketball program. They may have a shot to break it this year, but they made a huge blunder by getting beat (AT HOME) by Big Ten cellar-dwellers Penn St. and they couldn't pull off the upset against Wisconsin.‚  So they practically have to win out and make a splash in the Big Ten Tournament. <strong>Kicker:</strong> Dog show alert! Dog show alert! The dogs are coming to McCormick place for the <a href="http://www.ikcdogshow.com/" target="_blank">International Kennel Club Dog Show 2010</a>.‚  It takes place this weekend. You want hilarity? Watch Triumph at Westminster. Classic Conan. But I realize that I should give dogs some ink since some might think we are pro-cat by our header picture. Not true. Don't listen to the conservative blogs. We are impartial. If you have a WBEZ logo and a dog, take the picture and <a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/chicagopublicradio/" target="_blank">send it to us</a> and we'll feature it. Heck, it works for WCIU.</p> Mon, 22 Feb 2010 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/jkaufmann/2010/02/wait-when-did-olympic-hockey-go-all-nhl/15677