If you live in Wisconsin or love cheese, you’ve probably already heard all the buzz about the limited supply of 20-year cheddar being released in Wisconsin this spring. This weekend, Hook’s Cheese Company in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, will release their first 20-Year Aged Cheddar. This is a once-in-a-lifetime cheese, and due to extremely limited quantities, only a select few will get a taste.
Fortunately, we have a full pound to divide among four very lucky Wisconsin cheese fans. And it gets even better! Winners will receive a vertical flight of seven aged cheddars to fully experience the flavor and texture changes that occur as a cheese ages. Basically, you’ll be able to host the most epic cheese tasting party ever. Or keep it all for yourself – we won’t judge. Find giveaway details at the end of this post. But first, let’s celebrate those two decades of aging with 20 curds of cheese knowledge.
20 Curds of Cheese Knowledge
Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Facts
- All aged cheddar starts as fresh cheese curds that are pressed and matured into sharp, firm blocks or wheels
- Wisconsin is the nation’s #1 cheddar producer, churning up to 568 million pounds a year or 18% of the nation’s total
- Wisconsin offers more than 100 different varieties, types and styles of cheddar
- Prior to 1850, nearly all cheese produced in the U.S. was cheddar
- Wisconsin has 26 Master Cheesemakers of cheddar
- Cheddar has a rich, nutty flavor that becomes increasingly sharp with age, and a smooth, firm texture that becomes more granular and crumbly with age
- Cheese helps prevent tooth decay, and firm cheeses such as cheddar are the most effective
- You’ll find cheddar on more burger menus in the United States than any other cheese
- We’re making more every year – Production of Wisconsin specialty cheddar has grown at an average, annual rate of 13.2% over the past decade
- Wisconsin cheddar is available in numerous shapes and sizes from convenient, portable snacks such as curds, sticks and cubes to the mother lode mammoth cheddar, which can weigh from 150 to 300 pounds!
- More than 60 Wisconsin cheese companies make cheddar
- Cheese aging requires careful attention to temperature, humidity and ventilation
- A cheese cave or cellar is where cheese has traditionally been aged
- The aging process allows time for millions of microbes and enzymes to break down the proteins and fats into a complex combination of acids that influence how texture, taste and aroma are expressed in the cheese
- Cheddar is an interior ripened cheese, meaning it ripens from the center out, opposite of surface ripened cheese, which ripens from the outside in
- Hook’s made less than 500 pounds of 20-year cheddar, which was pre-sold well in advance of its release date
- Julie Hook was, and still is, the only woman to win the World Cheese Championship, in 1982
- College sweethearts Tony and Julie Hook formed Hook’s Cheese Company in 1976 when they began producing cheddar and Swiss
- Hook’s buys milk from local farms around Mineral Point, WI, which are at least third generation, family owned and operated 25 to 60 cow herds
- The Hook’s cheese-making facility was built into the hills of Mineral Point over 150 years ago during the mining era
Aged Cheddar Cheese Flight with 20-Year Cheddar Giveaway
Four lucky winners will receive seven types of aged Wisconsin cheddar, ranging from 1 year to the exclusive 20-year aged cheddar from Hook’s.
How to Enter:
Visit EatWisconsinCheese.com/Giveaway between now and June 5 to sign up
- Entrants must be U.S. residents
- Entrants must be age 18 or older
- Entries are limited to one per household
- Four entries will be chosen at random
- Entry period ends June 5, at 11:59 p.m. EST