Food, Food Artisans

Big Wheels at Zingerman’s Deli

A special occasion

uplandThis past Saturday, we were very fortunate to welcome Andy Hatch, cheesemaker at Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville, WI, and the man responsible for bringing the excellent and award-winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese to Zingerman’s Deli all those years ago.

Andy was in town to break open a special 80 lb. wheel of the Pleasant Ridge that had been maturing for over two years. Normally, the wheels are just 10 lbs., but Andy was moved by the birth of his son to create two special large-sized commemorative wheels. He kept the first, and honored Zingerman’s by opening the second wheel here at the Deli. Although he received multiple bids on the special wheels, Andy says he wanted it “kept in the Midwest,” and we are all the luckier for it.



Andy says the flavor of the larger wheel is “very complex, and nicely sweet.” The delighted expressions of the Deli staff and guests tasting this beautiful golden cheese were confirmation of the artisan’s exceptional work come to fruition. The flavor of the cheese is excellent, truly an outstanding addition to any quality cheese platter. 

Also present was filmmaker Arthur Ircink founder of the Wisconsin Foodie an Emmy-nominated television show celebrating Wisconsin’s unique culinary culture. Arthur was on hand to document the wheel opening, and to interview Ari about the long-lasting relationship between Zingerman’s and Uplands Cheese.





In addition to the Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Andy also served up samples of Uplands’ Rush Creek Reserve, a rich, soft-ripened cheese bound in spruce bark that imparts a sweet, woodsy flavor to the round. The cheese is creamy, intense yet delicate in flavor, and of a custard consistency that goes very well with fruit and crusty bread.






When I asked Andy if he planned on making more of the larger wheels, he told me that he and his wife had just had a baby girl this year, so two more big wheels are created. As for whether he will continue to make the larger format wheels, Andy said “it was kind of a special deal,” but we might see perhaps one or two per year in the future. Maybe.

Never say never…

Stop by the Deli and ask for a taste!