Impress your family, friends, and fellow cheese lovers with some Dairy State trivia (& dishes!) this Thanksgiving.
Let’s be honest: this time of year is all about food. And when you think Wisconsin, you think cheese.
The official “Wisconsin Cheese” website has compiled a list of five must-try Thanksgiving recipes, which– of course– all use Wisconsin cheese.
From the perfect cheese to put on your charcuterie board to a savory Bacon-Beer-Cheddar Stuffing that everyone will love, click here for the editors’ picks!
Here are a few cheesy facts to also bring to your Thanksgiving gathering:
- Wisconsin produces 600 different varieties of cheese– more than double the amount runner-up state, California, makes.
- Brick and Colby were first created in Wisconsin.
- Limburger, the world’s single stinkiest cheese, is only made in Monroe.
- 90% of Wisconsin milk is made into cheese– enough for 11 pounds per person in the US.
- There are more than 1,000,000 cows in Wisconsin–one for every 5 people!
- Wisconsin is home to more than 13 festivals dedicated specifically to cheese.
- Outside of Switzerland, Wisconsin has the only master cheesemaker program in the world.
- Wisconsin is also the only place outside of Europe that requires a license to make cheese.
- Wisconsin produces one-quarter of all cheese in America (3.2 billion lbs./year!) and half of all specialty cheese.
- “America’s Dairyland” earned its title with more national and international cheese awards that anywhere else in the world.
- The nation’s first dairy school was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- If it were a country, Wisconsin would rank 4th in the world in cheese production, behind the rest of the US, Germany, and France.
- Cheese curds are the freshest form of cheddar. In the cheese-making process, the curds separate from the whey and, once the whey is drained, the cheese curds are what remain.
- The Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin is the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery in Pierce County, 50 miles southwest of Minneapolis.
- Fresh cheese curds squeak because the elastic protein strands in the cheese rub against the enamel of your teeth.
- The earliest commercial dairy producers started making cheese because it kept longer than milk or butter at a time when storage and transportation was limited.
- By the end of the Civil War, there were 30 cheese factories in Wisconsin. By 1870, there were 54 in three main counties: Sheboygan, Green, and Jefferson. Today, there are 1,290 licensed cheese producers in the state.