Festival Foods Celebrates June Dairy Month with Specialty Cheeses Offered Year-Round

Cheese Section Houses 200 Varieties

Specialty cheeses are more popular than ever, whether it’s to toss in a salad for an extra kick, arrange on a beautiful cheese tray, or savor outright. In fact, Wisconsin makes almost half of the nation’s specialty cheeses, and production is only increasing as consumers stretch their taste buds beyond the classics.

Festival Foods in Marshfield is meeting the demand with its very own specialty cheese section that houses 200 varieties, around half of which is produced right in Wisconsin. For example, one of the largest brands with nearly twenty flavors on the shelf is award-winning Sartori cheese, based in Plymouth, WI. “As a company we love to support our state,” said Deli Manager Jake Donahue. From Sartori, try rosemary and olive oil, extra-aged Asiago, citrus ginger, and even chai.

One can find all kinds of flavors on the shelves, from the familiar herb or jalapeno, to the more unusual but tasty apricot and ginger, applewood smoked sea salt, or even espresso. One stand-out cheese flying off the shelves is tangy feta cheese, a healthier variety commonly used on salads that can come in varieties like basil or garlic.

Specialty cheddars are commonly cubed and placed on trays or added to salads. At the deli, specialty cheese are used in rotating salads like BelGioioso Caprese and Greek pasta salad to add extra flavor.

Those who don’t know where to start can easily ask for assistance from the deli. Donahue starts by asking the guest what the cheese is being paired with. “If you’re having a certain type of wine that has specific flavors in it, you don’t want a cheese that will overpower that,” he said. “Your best bet is going to be something that will complement it.”

A good cheese to pair with wine, he said, is one of the cheddars aged anywhere from 3-10 years. The greater the age, the sharper the cheese, so Donahue recommends beginning on the lower end and working up. Festival is the only carrier of a 5, 7, and 10 year cheddar called Wisconsin Graders Reserve, which is hand selected and graded by one of the state’s finest master cheese graders.

Though not technically a specialty cheese, always special in the hearts of Wisconsinites are the fresh cheese curds. These arrive from Nasonville Dairy every morning during the week, always within 24 hours of being made. These can be found at a special display near the front of the store for easy access.

If there’s a cheese that Festival Foods doesn’t stock, simply fill out a Guest Request slip. “That is something we pride ourselves on doing,” said Donahue. “There’s a whole lot of cheeses out there that some haven’t seen, heard of, or tried before, and we’d be more than happy to do our best and try bring them in or find a great alternative.

Those who’d like to try a sample can ask the deli, or stop by a sampling booth during special promotions. And don’t be afraid to ask for more info. “I definitely encourage people to always ask questions and try things out,” said Donahue.