2012 American Cheese Month 31 Cheeses in 31 Days: Day One: Dante
Who: Cedar Grove Cheese for the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative
Where: Plain, Wisconsin
Milk Type: Sheep, pasteurized
Texture: hard, aged
Rind: edible polymer coated
Shape: 8lb wheel
Flavor: Lightly but immediately tangy, hint of pineapple, toasted cashew, brown butter
Dante is one of the earlier sheep’s milk cheeses to try and make a go of it in America, now just about a decade old. The Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative (WDSC) came together to create a market for sheep dairies in Minnesota & Wisconsin.
The original goals of WSDC were to: 1) market sheep milk produced by its members. 2) establish a stable market for sheep milk, 3) establish a stable supply of sheep milk and 4) provide the highest quality sheep milk available. In 1998, the WSDC received a grant from the State of Wisconsin ‘s Agricultural Development and Diversification Program to develop marketing strategies for the co-op. As part of the effort, and with the help of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, the WSDC established a Three year Strategic Plan that incorporated the original goals of the cooperative.
While I don’t find the flavors of Dante as rich nor as complex as artisan aged Manchego, it’s nonetheless a delicious cheese. The flavor lingers a good long while, with the tartness and buttery notes being replaced by distinct barnyard notes, hay, silage and lanolin.
Good with fruity reds with some age on them. Spanish, of course but an Amarone could be interesting.