Cheese, Please

Magers & Quinn Booksellers and invite you to learn about the artisans making Wisconsin’s most famous–and tastiest–food: cheese. Eating local has never been more important to diners. A personal connection to the people who produce our food is an important and valuable part of fine dining. The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin is your guide to some of the most skilled craftsmen and -women right here in the Upper Midwest. Authors James Norton and Becca Dilley discuss their new book at 4:30pm, Sunday, November 29, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin–beautifully photographed and engagingly written–introduces hardworking, resourceful men and women who represent an artisanal craft that has roots in Europe but has been a Wisconsin tradition since the 1850s. Wisconsin produces more than six hundred varieties of cheese, from massive wheels of cheddar and swiss to bricks of brick and limburger to such specialties as crescenza-stracchino and juustoleipa. These masters combine tradition, technology, artistry, and years of dedicated learning–in a profession that depends on fickle, living ingredients-to create the rich tastes and beautiful presentation of their skillfully crafted products.

James Norton and Becca Dilley interviewed these dairy artisans, listened to their stories, tasted their cheeses, and explored the plants where they work. They offer here profiles of forty-three active Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin, as well as a glossary of cheesemaking terms, suggestions of operations that welcome visitors for tours, tasting notes and suggested food pairings, and tasty nuggets (shall we say curds?) of information on everything to do with cheese.

Researching the book, the authors logged more than 7,600 miles on Wisconsin highways and back roads, visiting 35 cheese plants and interviewing 43 cheesemakers. They don’t even want to think about how many pounds of cheese they ate.

James Norton is a weekly columnist for Chow magazine and editor of Heavy Table, a food magazine for the Upper Midwest. He is also author of Saving General Washington. Becca Dilley has photographed food for numerous publications and works as an independent photojournalist. Follow their blog is at

Details are here.–David E