DRIVE TIME TO LARGER CITY:
-Milwaukee: 2 hours, 2 minutes
I have no idea how I missed this year's National Cheese Day, on June 4. I guess I'll blame it on the pandemic. When I realized I'd forgotten this important holiday I found myself reflecting on cheese makers I've met through my travels. One of my favorite cheese makers was Hook’s® Cheese Company, Inc.
Co-owners and college sweethearts, Tony and Julie Hook, operate in the heart of charming little Mineral Point, WI, an hour from the bustling college town of Madison. They have perfected their craft through nearly five decades, with plenty of awards to show for it.
During our factory visit, Tony Hook described the process of making blue cheese while holding two large molds used to craft it. He then invited us to sample ultra-fresh and luscious cheddar cheese varieties, alongside Colby and specialty cheeses.
Julie’s 1982 Colby won ‘Best of Class’ and ‘Finest Cheese in the World’ recognition (out of 482 entries) at the World Cheese Championships. And their Ten Year Sharp Cheddar won first place in the 2006 American Cheese Society competition.
Today, the company makes 50 different cheeses. In 1997, the pair began crafting Blue Cheese and they added a Gorgonzola four years later. The dizzying array of cheeses that Hook's Cheese Company currently makes also includes Muenster; mild, medium and sharp cheddars. Monterey Jack comes in a variety of flavors such as Hook's Maple Jack and Hook's Pesto Jack. The company also makes Tilston, Gouda, Havarti and Pecorino cheeses, to name a few.
This is a must-do visit for cheese loving travelers in Wisconsin. Check for current hours and tour availability during the pandemic.
Please note: As a writer associated with the travel industry, I received a complimentary tour and samples for the purpose of this review. While it has not influenced this post, I wish to disclose all potential conflicts of interest.
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