34 2018 CHEESE HANDBOOK WINSIGHT GROCERY BUSINESS
“The unique blend of heritage and innovation that is
alive in Wisconsin lends itself to producing the world’s
best cheese,” says Lizzie Duffey of the WMMB.
“Wisconsin was the first state to establish cheese
grading standards, and the first to require that every
cheese plant be overseen by a licensed cheese maker.
Wisconsin is also the only place outside Europe
where cheese makers can pursue an elite Master
Cheesemaker certification,” she says.
Begin in 1994, the Master Cheesemaker
certification is a rigorous three-year course of
study and practical apprenticeship administered by
the Center for Dairy Research at the University of
Wisconsin at Madison and funded by the WMMB.
Today, more than 70 Wisconsin cheese makers have
completed the program.
was to craft the best Italian cheeses in the U.S.,
the company was born from a search for America’s highest-quality milk.
When he started the company in 1979, Auricchio brought two Master Cheesemakers from
Italy. Mauro Rozzi and Gianni Toffolon, BelGioioso’s original Masters, continue to share their
wisdom and expertise with each new generation of cheese makers. BelGioioso now boasts
six Wisconsin certified Master Cheesemakers
on staff, and two more cheese makers currently
in the Master program.
“Creating ‘ultra-specialty’ or premium
cheeses is definitely trending in Wisconsin,
with cheese makers crafting their own variet-
ies,” says Villarreal. “Through the years, Bel-
Gioioso Master Cheesemakers have always
pushed the envelope on development of new
cheeses and have recognized that introducing
ultra-specialty cheeses to consumers—like bur-
rata, for instance—has created a premium class
of cheeses here in Wisconsin.”
One of the Company’s newest lines,
La Bottega di BelGioioso, includes an award-
winning new cheese called Artigiano, offered
in 4-ounce cheese board-friendly wedges.
Artigiano comes in three flavors: Classico,
Vino Rosso and a marinated Aged Balsamic &
“The industry continues to innovate and
grow, with cheese makers investing back into
their businesses within the state. You are seeing
construction of new plants and expansions of
existing ones,” says Villarreal, whose BelGioioso recently opened a new facility.
For Emmi Roth in Fitchburg, Wis., its ties to
Switzerland are as deep as they are delicious.
“Switzerland and Wisconsin have been connected through cheese making for decades,”
says Director of Marketing Heather Engwall.
“Home to Roth Cheese, Green County, Wis., is
known as the ‘Swiss Cheese Capital of Amer-
ica,’ where Swiss cheese factories line the coun-
tryside throughout the region.”
Emmi Roth’s connection to Switzerland is
rooted in the early 1900s, when Otto Roth
immigrated to the U. S. to start Otto Roth & Co.
and began importing Swiss cheeses into Amer-
ica. In 1991, the company became Roth Kase
USA and imported the first copper vats into
the U. S. from Switzerland to make its signature
Grand Cru alpine-style cheeses in Wisconsin.
Most recently, Emmi Roth has introduced
Roth Snack Cheese, which is made using its
well-established specialty cheese standards,
including fresh, local rBST-free milk. Emmi
Roth also launched a Roth Organics line last
year that is available in gouda, Grand Cru,
havarti and aged cheddar. All are GMO-free,
vegetarian and certified organic.
Amount of the nation’s
specialty cheese made
Emmi Roth’s new
Snack Cheese line
hits on protein-rich
Quality wins every time,
whether it’s Wisconsin
specialty cheeses or
singles in the dairy aisle.”
—Rebekah Sweeney, Wisconsin Cheese
Wisconsin’s dairy industry
fuels the state’s economy at
more than $82,500 per minute,
contributing $43.4 billion to the
bottom line a year, according to th
DATCP. The state also boasts:
• 1,200 licensed cheese makers
• 774 million pounds of specialty
• 8,800 dairy farms
• 1.28 million cows