The Driftless Area of the Midwest, containing the southeastern corner of Minnesota, a large chunk of Wisconsin and a little bit of Iowa, gets its name from a glacial event that took place over 12,000 years ago. Glaciers surrounded this area of the land, but never passed over it. This meant that no glacial “drift” was collected in the region: deposits of rock and other earthly masses that glaciers tend to leave in their tracks. This allowed for rivers to cut deep, flora to grow lush and thus, shaped a truly special region of the Midwest.
Here at the shop, we have three delicious cheeses that come specifically from this area, all of which are produced in Wisconsin. Pleasant Ridge Reserve, for one, is a wonderful gruyere style cheese made by Andy Hatch and his team. Their farm sits upon Pleasant Ridge in the Driftless Area where the cows have a vast and beautiful landscape to traverse and feed on the different grasses and wildflowers that abound. This lends a complex and unique flavor to the cheese that customers, and mongers alike, fully enjoy.
Secondly, we have Bleu Mont Cheddar from Willi Lehner over at Bleu Mont Dairy. Like tradition goes, these awesome wheels of cheddar are cave-aged and clothbound. You can imagine that the Driftless Area fosters a great space for one to carve their own cave, which is exactly what Lehner did. This allows his wheels to age and bring out the earthy nuances that are ever so important in a cheddar.
Lastly, there is Dunbarton Blue from the Roelli Cheese Haus, a truly special cheese, handcrafted by Chris Roelli, that combines a cheddar and blue style all into one. These wheels are cellar-aged and contain a perfect balance of subtle blue veins and dense cheddar paste. It goes without saying that there is something exceptionally alluring about the Driftless Area for a man from Switzerland to choose it as the beginnings of a generational cheese production that hails back to the 1920s.