The Roth family cheesemaking venture began in 1863 in Uster, Switzerland, then a small town just outside Zurich. By the end of the century a decision was made to bring the family’s knowledge and appreciation of European cheeses to America. By the early 1900’s, Otto Roth, son of the founder, had established a successful business that soon became one of the largest importers of European specialty cheeses in North America and that laid the foundation for what today forms Roth Käse USA.
In 1991, convinced there was a future for making great cheeses in America, Fermo Jaeckle, a former executive with Otto Roth & Co., joined with his cousins, Felix and Ulrich Roth, to further extend their European/Swiss roots and cheesemaking expertise into Green County, Wisconsin.
Known locally as Little Switzerland for its source of high quality milk, this area in the heart of Wisconsin is particularly well-suited for cheesemaking. It is here that Roth Käse USA was established, initially with a view towards making authentic Gruyère and other Alpine-style cheeses.
Agaist this backdrop, Buttermilk Blue is the result of a collaboration between Roth Käse, and a farmers’ dairy cooperative in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Prior to 1993, when Roth Käse entered the picture, the farmers were selling their predominantly Jersey cow’s milk to two Danish cheesemakers that ran a business from the co-op’s cheese plant where they made blue cheese. However, the cheesemaking business ran aground and, in search of a new outlet for their milk, the co-op successfully approached Roth Käse to take over the cheese business, continuing the produciton of Blue cheese with the new name of Buttermilk Blue.
The interior paste of Buttermilk Blue is ivory-colored with blue-gray veins and pockets that stops short of the edge of the cheese. Aromas are pronounced, with notes of buttermilk and blue mold.
Flavors near the rind are fairly salty. The cheese has rich, creamlike flavors towards the center, cut through with a robust milk tang.
Pair with Miller Wine Works 2007 Syrah, Sage Canyon Vineyard
Okay, look, it needs to be said: it is highly likely that burrata is earth’s best cheese. If you’ve never tried it, or have never heard of it, allow us to elaborate: burrata starts out as mozzarella. Milky curds are dipped into hot water, and kneaded into a familiarly springy ball of fresh mozzarella. But then, mozzarella curd scraps are stuffed into the inside of the ball of cheese, and then they get topped off with fresh cream. The whole package is sealed up by twisting the mozzarella together in a little knot, and this miracle of a cheese is sent on its way.
What does all this mean? It means that when you cut into your ball of burrata, cream that has been hanging out with cheese curds is waiting for you. Those curds are like, “Hey guys, sop me up with bread! Melt me onto pizza! Let us hang out on top of a salad! Do what you feel!” This also means that, for the most part, you want to keep your burrata recipes pretty simple. It is an incredible ingredient that you want to shine mostly on its own.
Produced in the Ile de France region of northern France, Explorateur was invented in the 1958 by M. Duquesne of Fromagerie du Petit Morin, and named in honor of the United States’ satellite called Explorer that was in the news at the time. The cheese has a particularly cool label, depicting a Sputnik-type space rocket.
Made from pasteurized cow’s milk, Explorateur is a triple creme cheese and thus has a fat content of 75%. Triple creme cheeses are made by adding more cream to already rich milk.
Produced in small 9oz. cyclinders, Explorateur is typical of many French triple cream cheeses in that it is mold ripened and covered with a white, bloomy rind. The interior paste of the cheese is an ivory color with a dense, but quite fluffy texture.
The name of this cheese, Sottocenere, essentially means “under ash”. The gray rind is formed by a layer of ash that covers the cheese as it ages. Mixed with the ash are spices such as coriander, nutmeg and cloves although these spices hardly flavor the cheese. It is the addition of truffle oil and tiny flecks of truffle that create the irresistible flavor and aroma. The rind is edible, although sometimes a little gritty, and is less flavorful than the cheese.
Truffle! Not only are tiny pieces of truffle found throughout this semi-soft cheese, but the rind is also rubbed with truffle oil.
The rich flavor of truffles shines on its own. A glass of sparkling wine or Grenache will wash it down well.
A little bit of Sottocenere melted into a dish can be transformative – try melting it over polenta, risotto, or scrambled eggs. Squares of grilled cheese sandwich with Sottocenere could be a fun appetizer at a party (or a completely decadent lunch).