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Friday, Dec. 4, 2009

Boswell Hosts ‘Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin’

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Even before embarking upon the obligatory kindergarten trip to the farm, Wisconsin kids know that the state is renowned for its cheese. From squeaky curds to fans sporting wedges of cheddar on their heads, Wisconsin has been perfecting this artisan craft since the 1850s. In fact, the state produces 35% of the nation’s specialty cheeses and wheels from more than 600 varieties. Sure, other states in the union may have their Philly cheesesteak or their “happy cows,” but they can’t measure up to Wisconsin’s champion cheeses, which captured 27 of 77 gold medals at the 2008 World Championship Cheese Contest.

James Norton and Becca Dilley decided to showcase the Dairy State’s eminent cheese-makers in their photo-laden narrative The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin, which exposes the praiseworthy talents and stories of 43 certified master craftsmen and engagingly captures the historic Wisconsin trade of cheese-making.

Authors Dilley, a free-lance photographer, and Norton, an online food blogger, had to move outside of the Midwest before they truly appreciated the fact that Wisconsin feasts on the country’s best cheeses. After returning to the region, they decided to investigate and document the stories of the people who craft the state’s gold-medal cheeses. Not surprisingly, this is a story of Wisconsin as well as the cheese that made the state famous. Through photo images and biographical accounts, The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin reveals the hard-working, humble cheese-making residents and the industry that established Wisconsin as the Dairy State. Norton and Dilley will discuss their book on Friday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at Boswell Book Co. This event is co-sponsored by Outpost Natural Foods and will include a complimentary cheese tasting.