Sunday, January 15, 2012

Minnesota Blue Cheese

I'm Dutch and I'm from Wisconsin. This pretty much guarantees that cheese is part of my DNA. To say that I love cheese is an understatement. I will admit, however, that I am fairly unsophisticated when it comes to cheese. So, when my friend, Jennifer, brought a wedge of blue cheese to me, I was a little confused. It turns out that Jen works with Joe Sherman, who happens to be an artisan cheesemaker with Northern Lights Artisan Cheese....

......and he gave Jen a sample of his famous Blue Cheese to pass on to me. Well, I was flattered, to say the least. I haven't had much of a chance to review many true Minnesotan foods, so I really wanted to do a good job. Frankly, I was nervous. Would my unsophisticated palate be able to distinguish a good blue cheese from the grocery store variety? Or would it be like beer to me, where it all tastes the same? I needn't have worried--this cheese is amazing!

Northern Lights was founded in 2005, but Joe has been making cheese since he was 19 years old in the early 80's. Although, the company makes other varieties of cheese, it's the Blue Cheese that is Joe's crown jewel. Produced in small batches and aged 4 months, it really is the cream of the crop!

Originally, I had planned on incorportating the cheese into a recipe, Blue Cheese crackers, perhaps? But, it really seemed a shame not to just enjoy it in it's pure form....and it is tasty. Blue Cheese can be a little overwhelming, but this was smooth and buttery.

Of course if you want to incorporate it into other things, how about a nice Blue Cheese Butter? Melted on a beautiful steak, burger, or even melted on vegetables or pasta, Blue Cheese Butter is ever so versatile.

Just combine 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, with 2 tablespoons of Blue Cheese crumbles, roll it into a log and refrigerate until ready to use.

I guess I could have rolled it a little more evenly. :)

Mmmm...melty, buttery Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onions....

Jen had a chance to sample several of Joe's cheeses.

Is that Minnesota Hot Colby I see? Yes, please!

Disclaimer: I received a sample of cheese to review. As always, all opinions are my own and I received no monetary compensation.


  1. I'm a Bleu Cheese fanatic and Maytag is my favorite U.S.-made version. (I've not tried Northern Lights.) At the moment, I have a 2 lb. wheel of Stilton in the fridge. As soon as it's gone, I'm ordering the one you've reviewed. Looks and sounds like a winner.

  2. That looks excellent--I am an absolute cheese freak, especially aged types.

  3. Being from Iowa, I always gravitate towards the Maytag, but this looks darn delicious!!! Your blue cheese butter sounds amazing!

    PS...Congrats on winning the trip to Indy from Red Gold!!!! How exciting!!!

  4. That hamburger looks way toooo good. I love all the combination of cheese with carmelized onion. Now I must make a hamburger. thanks for sharing.