A new line of cheeses created by the master cheese makers at Sartori Foods in Plymouth, Wis., are capturing some serious attention these days by cheese buyers, judges and people like us who just like cheese.
The now award-winning line of Sartori Reserve BellaVitano artisan cheeses (a bunch of them won medals at the World Cheese Awards in Ireland this past October) combine the rich and fruity creaminess of young cheese with the appealing crunch that only comes with premium aging.
Think of the rich, craveable taste of an aged, premium Cheddar, balanced by a full-flavored Parmesan, and you have this uniquely delicious artisan cheese. I picked up a a half a pound for a friend who was having a dinner party and she called me the next day, practically so happy she was crying. See what I mean? This cheese moves people.
And, the news just keeps getting better – four new distinctive BellaVitano varieties are now available in both wedges and wheels.
- Raspberry BellaVitano. This premium cheese won Best New Cheese and Best American Cheese at the 2008 World Cheese Awards in Ireland. It is soaked in New Glarus Raspberry Tart Ale to bring out fruity notes. This is my new favorite cheese. I could literally sit and eat this cheese until I get sick. It's that good.
- Black Pepper BellaVitano. Created for the most discerning cheese enthusiast, this variety is coated in cracked black peppercorns. It won a Silver Medal at the 2008 World Cheese Awards.
- Merlot BellaVitano. Soaked in fine Merlot for hints of berry and plum, this extraordinary cheese carries a pleasing flavor and texture.
- BellaVitano Gold. Inspired by a traditional Italian farmstead cheese, Bella Vitano Gold combines the fruity flavor of a premium Parmesan with the creamy smoothness of fine Cheddar. It won a Gold Medal at the 2008 World Cheese Awards.
These cheeses are becoming available at more and more stores across the country, so I would really encourage you to ask for them. The raspberry and merlot - especially for their color and table presentation - will make really excellent holiday cheeses.