We have so many incredible cheese artisans in this great state that we’d inevitably leave out a gem if we tried to list them all, so keep an eye on our Edible Culture column in each issue for a new cheesy highlight from Jeanne Carpenter, Wisconsin’s own self-labeled “cheese geek.” Why so many great cheeses come from Wisconsin is partly because it is the only state that requires cheesemakers to be licensed, and it offers an advanced certification program. But not only that, cheese culture (pun intended) runs generations deep here. Even first generation cheesemakers can name a mentor who encouraged and inspired them.

Cow’s milk cheese is, of course, the most common and popular, but don’t rule out the goat or sheep milk cheese produced in Southern Wisconsin. After tasting, you might welcome ridding yourself of any lingering cheese prejudices. Opt for cheeses from pastured (and organic, when possible) animals to maximize the flavor due to the animal consuming the grasses and legumes it’s meant to eat.

Nutrition: Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium; however, a 1 ounce serving (about the size of a stick of string cheese) averages 110 calories and high in saturated fat. Don’t rule them out, by any means, but all the more reason to choose good quality cheeses and savor them.