Wednesday, January 13, 2010

La Fête du Fromage at Chez Loulou with HBin5 Spicy Chili Crackers

Todays post is about cheese, beautiful cheese, or fromage, as they call it in France. I'm joining Chez Loulou for her International Fête du Fromage event on January 15. If you love cheese, please visit Loulou's blog since she shares some amazing cheeses made in France. She has invited readers world-wide to participate in this event.

Since Wisconsin is known as the 'Dairy State' in the U.S. and many fine cheeses are made in Wisconsin, I thought it would be a fun idea to showcase one of our fine artisan cheeses for this event.

Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Upland Cheese Company will be reviewed for this post. This cheese was included in a beautiful gift basket of cheeses and wines that we received from good friends as a Christmas gift. Since I was ill the entire week after Christmas, I was happy to finally taste it for this wonderful event.

I knew when I made the Spicy Chili cheese crackers for our HBin5 bread event this week (please see my previous post) that they would be perfect to serve with a hearty cheese and this cheese was perfect match.

The cheese was delicious! It tasted like a combination of an aged white cheddar and a fine French Gruyère. It was semi-hard and had a delightful nutty and slightly salty taste. I believe I could also detect a hint of clover.

Quoting from the Upland Cheese website:

"Pleasant Ridge Reserve is an artisanal cheese made from the non-pasteurized milk of a single herd of Wisconsin cows fed and managed using natural, "old world" practices. Our cows graze lush pastures from early spring through fall, just as all cows did before the industrialization of our food system...

Pleasant Ridge Reserve has received numerous prestigious awards. Most notably, Best of Show at the 2005 American Cheese Society conference, an accolade it won for the second time, having been awarded Best of Show in 2001 as well. Additionally, Pleasant Ridge Reserve was named U.S. Best of show 2001 and 2005 Champion at the 2003 U.S Championship cheese contest. Pleasant Ridge Reserve is the only cheese to ever win both national competitions. Most recently Pleasant Ridge Reserve was awarded the 2007 Gallo Gold Medal Award for Best Artisanal Dairy Product.

Pleasant Ridge Reserve is an original cheese inspired by farmstead cheeses from the alpine provinces of southeastern France. The aging techniques we use were originally developed in the Middle Ages when cheeses similar to Pleasant Ridge Reserve were aged in limestone caves and washed frequently with a brine solution. Washing the rind keeps it free of unwanted microbes and produces a variety of pleasing flavors. Because of the time-consuming hand work involved this practice is rarely used today.

Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese is the end product of a process linked to the seasons and life cycles of our animals as well as to the prairie soils and climate of southwest Wisconsin. The sweet flavors of the pasture grasses, clovers, herbs and wild flowers are experienced in every taste of our cheese."

If you do a web search for Pleasant Ridge Reserve or Upland Cheese you will likely find a source to purchase it. You can also find it here.

The recipe for the spicy chili crackers is from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg.

Thank you Loulou for the opportunity to showcase one of our fine Wisconsin cheeses! Again, please visit Chez Loulou on January 15 when she will post all of the participants.

25 comments:

  1. This takes crackers and cheese to a whole new level, wow, it look so good!!!

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  2. Oh you cruel, cruel woman. The brioche in your header, those crackers. Darn! Why can't gluten free food taste like that. Oh I know GF Girl says it can but it really doesn't.

    If I was a nicer person I would make some of these recipes for my husband!

    Stay cozy.

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  3. Thank you!

    Jenny, the HBin5 book contains some gluten free recipes too!

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  4. I love so much cheese, it's too bad, I can't be there, it's a little bit to far !
    I have to try your crackers, with my "french" fromages !

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  5. Susan, as a cheese lover I would just have loved being there sampling this wonderful cheese on your crackers! The crackers alone would have been an exceptional treat in my opinion they look wonderful. Where's the glass of wine though...just kidding :)

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  6. I even like the label on the cheese Susan..Those crackers look great too..
    This is a fun thing w/ Loulou:)

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  7. The crackers look great - you better like cheese if you're from WI!!!!
    The photos are fantastic.

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  8. You outdo yourself with each post, this looks fantastic! What a fun event!

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  9. Susan, I love your description of the cheese, especially your comment about the hint of clover. It really sounds like a lovely and impressive cheese. ... Your cheese knife is gorgeous.

    The Spicy Chili cheese crackers look tasty and sound like a good snack by themselves.

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  10. Susan~you had my attention at the mere mention of...cheese.
    My sis in-law was the one who got me hooked on spicy herb crackers.
    We enjoy our cheese and crackers with a glass (or two of) Moscato. Toasted baguette crowns with caramelized onion and French Gruyère is divine. My hubby and I never tire of exploring new avenues for cheese.

    Sweet wishes,
    Sara

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  11. Popped in to say hi! This all looks amazing!

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  12. This cheese sounds fantastic but what I'm really loving is those crackers! I didn't have time to make them but hopefully I'll get around to it at some point. Wish I had some local cheese to pair them with.

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  13. ciao grazie della tua visita!!!! davvero sfiziosi questi cracker!!! bravissima!

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  14. wow spicy adn cheesy! Yummy combo!

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  15. So sorry I missed out on the International Fête du Fromage event. How fun!

    Wonderful crackers and weren't they good too!

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  16. A wonderful addition to la Fête du Fromage! Thanks for joining in the cheese tasting festivities. Hope to see you again next time!

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  17. Super review of the cheese and the crackers look fabulous!

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  18. Beautiful post, not "cheesey" at all Susan.. :)
    The crackers look delicious!

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  19. Thanks for reminding me that there are indeed some fine, fine cheeses being produced in the USA. This looks delicious, and I love the combination of a bold cheese with some spice. Well done!

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  20. I love cheese and I bet this stuff is delicious. Perfect with the homemade crackers!

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  21. Oh, Susan! I don't need any prompting to eat cheese, but if I did, your pics would have me running for it. Beautiful!

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  22. I've never been to Wisconsin and never tasted any of your cheeses either but this one looks very good.Maybe I'll find it at The Fresh Market in HHI on my next trip??
    Thanks for stopping by in Normandy, come back & talk cheese anytime you like!
    ~Maggie~

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  23. Your crackers came out wonderfully! Mine, not so much :) Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  24. As a certifiable cheese fanatic, this makes my mouth water! Your crackers came out so much nicer than mine, too:) I think I'm going to try a pasta roller next time!

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  25. Yum!
    Being a Gruyere and all-things-cheese mouse, I know I'd love Pleasant Ridge as well. I haven't seen it around here, but I'll look harder.

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