Door Artisan Cheese Company first opened their doors in May 2017 as a cheese-centric destination featuring its own cheese factory, an artisan cheese shop and attached restaurant. More than a year later it is obvious that the cheese production side of the business has begun to flourish; the cheese shop now offers 15 varieties of cheese made on site with plans to grow that number to 50. Located just north of downtown Egg Harbor on Highway 42, the cheese shop is the perfect place to expand your cheese knowledge and select an impressive collection of cheeses for your fridge or for a cheese board to share.
The objective on my last visit was to create a summery cheese board for a midweek Independence Day-themed picnic. The simple rule of thumb I follow when building a board is to start with three varieties: a classic cheddar or colby; a firmer parmesan, asiago or fontina; and then either a stinky variety (such as blue, brick or brie) or a fresh variety (such as feta, mozzarella or burrata).
For the first variety I considered the Top Hat Bandaged Cheddar, a recent winner at the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest. Made in the traditional English-style, this mild and creamy cheese will please many cheddar lovers. However, I opted for a variety made in honor of Door County’s Belgian heritage named Valmy. The cheese is a washed rind variety, meaning the wheel of cheese is frequently washed with a liquid to impact flavor as it ages. In this case the liquid used is a Trappist style beer, which also imparts a deep golden brown to the cheese rind.
For the second variety, a wedge of beautiful creamy white cheese with a dark red rind caught my eye. Named Roseate for its coloring, the cheese is an Italian-style asiago that is brined in Italian red wine for a week and cave aged. Said to pair well with hard salami and olives, I also selected a cured Felino salami.
Last, I selected my absolute favorite fresh cheese variety: cow’s milk burrata. Often overlooked, this fresh cheese is made in Wisconsin by BelGioioso Cheese Co. and comes in a container with water brine. At first glance the cheese appears to be a large ball of fresh mozzarella, but once you cut into it, you will find a soft and creamy center. Mild in flavor, this cheese plays easily with any fresh summer produce, sweet or savory.
I topped the burrata with a balsamic glaze and fresh sliced strawberries to give a nod to the season. Blueberries and yogurt-coated almonds completed the red, white and blue theme. To finish, a handful each of hazelnuts and pecans plus cracker rounds to complement and balance the sweeter flavors. As a whole, the board was the perfect way to welcome July and the right size for four to nosh on during the final hours of sun on a beautiful Sister Bay evening.