Cheeses aging in the Alpine Room.  Fontina in a variety of flavorful rubs, $6.99/wedge (photos courtesy Schuman Cheese).
As food swami Anthony Bourdain has said, “you have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.”
Where do you go looking for real romantics these days? In Wisconsin. Turtle Lake Wisconsin.
Turtle Lake is home to the Schuman family’s largest cheese making facility, which has quietly been importing and manufacturing award-winning cheeses for the past ten years.
Never heard of them? It’s because they’ve primarily focused on supplying wholesale distributors with their superb products for a roster of demanding chefs, food service contractors, private-label markets, hotels, and restaurants around the world.
Now though, they have a new name and some new cheeses that will richly cater to your own discerning taste. Newly named Schuman Cheese (formerly Arthur Schuman, Inc.) has begun to send two of their most intensely researched, developed and tested cheeses to markets where they’re awaiting your shopping cart.
WHAT’S UP AT SCHUMAN CHEESE
Focusing on cheeses people love to cook with and snack on every day, Schuman has created two brand families: Yellow Door Creamery, and Cello for Italian varieties. These unique cheeses are made by hand to European specifications.
Separately, Schuman has formed an exclusive five-year relationship with France’s École nationale d’industrie laitière (ENIL), a series of five regional colleges that operate under the French Ministry of Agriculture and which defines the standards for cheesemaking artisans.
The partnership is devoted to immersing Schuman’s cheesemakers in the same European techniques that make us crave French and Italian cheeses.
Heading up this highly creative, passionate, and scientific effort is Christophe Megevand, who began his career in the French Alps. Having won numerous gold medals in cheese competitions for years, he oversees all of Schuman’s cheese production.
His passion for cheesemaking is with him 24/7, and every six months his hand-picked colleague Julien Rouillaud, who has taught at the ENIL for ten years, have led the Schuman company to an evolving educational partnership with a single mission: enhancing the everyday quality of cheese.
YELLOW DOOR CREAMERY
Yellow Door Creamery’s award-winning Fontina, semi-firm and velvety, has been taken in hand and given a new flavor profile.
Each perfect wheel gets a surface massage of distinctive, aromatic herbs directly from the hands of Schuman’s specially trained staff. They’re then cryovac-ed and aged for up to 50 days so that flavors ripen and fully develop.
These are the three you should look for to make your cheeseboards (and your guests) smile:
Harissa: just-right heat and the excitement of Moroccan cuisine.
Habanero-Lime: an unusual combination that works like a dream, with the tiny pepper’s hot zap…and
Tuscan: bursts of the Italian herbals we love, like thyme, oregano, and basil.
Soon on the way to join its family is a melodious Bergamot & Hibiscus-rubbed Fontina. It is maturing in the aging room, waiting to reach the same degree of perfection as its relatives.
All are perfect cheeses to accompany cocktails or wine, and are welcome in the refrigerator for snacks. The cheeses are delicious in popular recipes, from stuffed mushrooms and onion soup gratin to frittata and fondue.
New Alpine-Style Cheeses
Starting in May, Yellow Door Creamery’s three new Alpine-style cheeses, long in the making and perfecting, will be introduced to consumers. Christophe, who grew up in the French Alps, is particularly fond of these, even though they are the most difficult ones to make.
The cheeses are “naked cured” (not brined or aged in plastic), so that they are completely moisture-free, and are cultured and aged completely differently from softer cheeses. They are consistently tested and fine-tuned to produce different flavor notes.
The three coming to market indicate the specific mountainous regions from which they originate:
Valis (valley) typifies the lower Alps, with gentler grassy flavor and a more pliable texture similar to Raclette.
Monteau (mountain) is more like a Vermont cheese–a bit stronger and firmer, similar to Appenzeller, with more complex flavor…and
Alta (high mountain), with its intensely sweet, nutty flavor, similar to Gruyère.
The Alpine selections are great cooking cheeses (think raclette and fondue), and are heaven for grilled cheese lovers. They can also easily be grated over cooked dishes just before serving. Dried fruits and nuts are able-bodied partners.
Yellow Door Creamery’s Hand-Rubbed Fontina is available at Costco, Sprouts stores, Sam’s Club, and Kroger supermarkets. The Alpine cheeses will launch in stores this summer.