Last month, as a guest of The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and World’s Best Cheese, I had the opportunity to visit some of the crème de la crème dairy farms and creameries known nationally (as well as internationally). One of my all-time favorite creameries is Carr Valley Creamery; I just couldn’t wait to arrive and see all of the spectacularly crafted cheeses!
Carr Valley, famous for its traditional varieties of cheddar, is owned and operated by fourth-generation master cheese maker, Sid Cook. When it comes to the art of cheese making, Sid is my Da Vinci–creative, inquisitive, and technical. I am a self-admitted groupie. Currently, there are over 60 cheeses made by Sid and his team. He has won over 100 awards for his cheeses and is referred to being a rock star of artisan cheese, the Jimi Hendrix of cheese, and “my personal favorite” the Willy Wonka of cheese.
Why Willy Wonka? Besides cheese, chocolate is my favorite food to nibble on. I especially love bits of dark chocolate–yummy! Next to dark chocolate covered pretzels, I can’t think of anything more delicious than the marriage of chocolate and cheese. Sometimes I have that after dinner dilemma, cheese or dessert? Sid, that imaginative and resourceful artist, solved this predicament by creating something for all to revel in; the perfectly balanced Cocoa Cardona. It was a 1st place winner at the American Cheese Society Awards in 2009, and 1st place winner at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, also in 2009.
Story has it that, during one of Sid’s busy days of cheese making, he threw a chocolate bar on his Swiss cheese sandwich–hence the inspiration. Cocoa Cardona is truly a masterpiece. This pasteurized goat’s milk cheese is rubbed and aged with a velvety coating of cocoa powder. The cocoa is subtle, with slight whispers of pepper, melding flawlessly with the smooth and delicate flavors of the snow-white, creamy interior. With hints of sweet vanilla, it is also nutty and mildly tangy inside. Young’s Double Chocolate Stout thoroughly complimented this true gem!
In the words of Veruca Salt, “I want it now!” I definitely felt that way once I tasted Cocoa Cardona-and I bet you will too!