Ari's Picks

Sunny Ridge: A Terrifically Tasty New Arrival at the Cream Top Shop

A wonderful, semi-soft goat cheese with a gentle full flavor

A Creamery staffer holding a wheel of Sunny Ridge cheese in front of the Cream Top Shop sign

In the small lakeside town of Port Washington in Wisconsin, about half an hour north of Milwaukee, the folks at Blakesville Creamery are making some marvelous cheese. They started only 18 months ago, so the fact that their cheese is already this good is a tribute to their care and their craft. I’m particularly smitten with their Sunny Ridge!

The founder of Blakesville Creamery, Lynde Uihlein, has had a long career in land preservation and community activism. In 1990 she founded the Brico Fund, a non-profit focusing on helping advance women’s issues and environmental causes. While I don’t know that Lynde formally wrote a vision the way we’ve learned to do it here, it’s pretty clear that she had one in her head. Culture magazine writes that, “The folks at Wisconsin-based Blakesville Dairy Farm have had a cheesemaking dream for years but were waiting for the right time and resources to make it work.” Pandemic or no pandemic, they’re making those dreams into a reality. As the writer Varyer says, Blakesville Creamery is “part idyllic goat farmstead and part production and aging facility, built with the cheesemaker’s eye on precision, experimentation, and scale.”

Sunny Ridge is made in the tradition of the great European washed rind cheeses like St. Nectaire. In this case though, Sunny Ridge is made with the farm’s own fresh goat’s milk. The young wheels of Sunny Ridge are washed with beer from Is/Was Brewing in Chicago. The end result is full flavored and eminently accessible. It has a clean, complex, flavor that’s just right to appeal to cheese novices and to folks like me and Tammie who have worked with artisan cheese professionally for decades. Meaty, milky, and mellow at the same time with a nice touch of salt, it’s terrific (at room temperature) to snack on accompanied by fresh vegetables, or eaten with a chunk of French baguette from the Bakehouse. It’d be really tasty, too, with boiled Yukon gold potatoes. I’m not the only one who’s enamored of this new arrival—Sunny Ridge just won a Good Food Award a few months ago. The folks there said it’s “exceptionally delicious [and] also supports sustainability and social good.”

Order Sunny Ridge for pick up from the Creamery.

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