Located in Teresa, Wisconsin, Joe Widmer's family has been crafting cheese since his grandfather, John Widmer, arrived from Switzerland more than 80 years ago. The family settled in one of the richest cheesemaking areas in America, and Joe continues the tradition as one of only eight certified Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers.
Joe started helping out in the cheese plant when he was six years old, and despite leaving school to pursue a career in Rock and Roll, returned to the business and gained his cheesemaker's license.
Widmer's are known for their Reserve Cheddars, Brick and Colby and adhere closely to the traditional Wisconsin cheesemaking methods. Milk for production comes from several local dairies, most of which have a very long-standing relationship with Widmer's. In fact one farm has sold milk to the cheese plant for three generations.
The Cheddar is sold at varying ages. After production, cheddar blocks are sealed with plastic, labeled with a vat number and production date, then placed in special curing rooms to age. During maturation, the cheeses are inspected and turned by hand at regular intervals.
The texure of Widmer's six year old cheddar is smooth, dense, moist and firm with occasional crunchy nuggets, resulting from crystallized amino acids - a sign of aging.
Flavors are rich. There are notes of caramel, salt, a noteworthy tanginess and slightly fruity finish.