Back in June, as part of my "dark and early" summer cheesemaking tour, I made Big Wheel Emmentaler with Master Cheesemaker Bruce Workman at Edelweiss Creamery in Monticello, Wis. When I arrived at 3:30 a.m. that day, Bruce had already filled one of his other cheesemaking vats and was on his way to making Bel Paese cheese for a private label client. With all the excitement of making 180-pound wheels of Swiss, I have to say I never gave that other vat of cheese another thought until alert reader Katheryn emailed me on July 28 with this important question:
"When I was in Italy for several months in college, one of my favorite cheeses was Bel Paese, which was buttery and mild. I ate it for lunch almost every day, along with bread from the San Lorenzo market in Florence. Do you know if there is anything similar available in Wisconsin?"
I emailed Katheryn back, with the news that I knew of a Wisconsin cheesemaker making Bel Paese, but it was being sold under another label. When I asked Bill at Fromagination about it, his thought was immediately - "I bet we can get some straight from Bruce."
Well, alert readers, another Wisconsin cheese is now born. Bruce has launched his Bel Paese under the name of Tuscan Dream and it is now available at Fromagination. The first wheels were delivered to the shop yesterday, and it's just as Katheryn described - mild and buttery. A cow's milk cheese, it matures for six to eight weeks, and has a creamy and light milky aroma. The color is a pale, creamy yellow. Bruce is making it in 4-5 pound wheels. I'd say it's somewhat similar to a French Saint-Paulin or German Butterkäse, but not as stinky and much milder.
The best part about this story? This morning, I got to email Katheryn, with the joyous news that a Wisconsin Bel Paese was now on the market. Being the alert reader that she is, she emailed me back almost immediately, saying: "Thanks so much for hunting this info for me. I'll be enjoying a good piece of Bel Paese soon, along with fond memories of Tuscany. :)"
Ahh, another happy cheese consumer. Life is good.