Brunkow Pavé Henri


by Keith and Leslie of Driftless Appetite

We (Leslie & Keith) love our new home in southwest Wisconsin. We may not be on the cutting edge of any culinary trends, but we honestly believe there is not a better place to live on earth if you want fresh, diverse, locally produced food.

We wanted to create a place where we could discuss food with others who care about where (and who) their food comes from, to provide information about food in southwest Wisconsin to those who are looking, and to learn more about what we eat, so we created Driftless Appetite, our blog about life and food in Southwest Wisconsin.

Many people know Joe Burns as the cheesemaker behind the Fayette Creamery line of artisanal cheeses from Brunkow Cheese (a 111 year old dairy cooperative near Darlington).

At first, we knew him only as our new neighbor whose van smells deliciously of cheese, but we recently had the chance to try one of his new creations and we were bowled over!

It is called Pavé Henri. It is a washed rind, Trappist-style, cobblestone shaped cheese that stinks to high heaven. Seriously, the sample we tried was nearing Limburger territory. He joked that we shouldn’t eat it with our nose. I, however, worship at the altar of the smelly cheeses and could not get enough of it.

Beyond the intoxicating aroma, the cheese has a buttery smoothness that contrasted perfectly against the slightly crunchy rind. When at room temperature, the cheese was not quite runny, but very soft. Our favorite way to eat it was with homemade strawberry & rhubarb preserves. It would also be fantastic simply paired with a baguette (although it is perhaps not a first date kind of cheese). Actually, come to think of it, it’s a perfect first date cheese. If your date doesn’t love stinky cheese, it’s best you find out now before you invest too much time.

Okay, I joke a little about the smell. While it is a stinky cheese, the flavor of the cheese is really mild. Leslie is not a fan of stinky cheese and has trouble even with mature Brie, but she had no qualms about eating (and loving) this. It may be, in fact, a good gateway cheese into the world of robust blues and Limburger?

The milk for Pavé Henri is sourced from a single herd of Jersey cows from Jordandal Farms. The cows (and cheese) were made possible by a grant from Rick Bayless’ Frontera Farmer Foundation, which has done a lot of good things for small Wisconsin farmers by providing capital development grants.

You can buy Pavé Henri from Brunkow Cheese at the Dane County Farmer’s Market, at their store near Darlington, and at the Green City Market in Chicago.