Sid Cook, Carr Valley Cheese

"We still do it the old-fashioned way - our goal has never been to become bigger, but to produce high quality cheeses with a lot of flavor. "


In Wisconsin, cheesemaker roots run deep.  Certified Master Cheesemaker Sid Cook has won more top national and international awards than any other cheesemaker in North America. As a fourth-generation cheesemaker, he received his cheesemaking license when he was 16, and now owns and operates three cheese plants and seven retail cheese stores in Wisconsin. As over a century-old company, Carr Valley Cheese began in 1902, and today is best known for producing high-quality, artisanal aged Cheddars. Using cow, goat, and sheep milks, Sid enjoys creating new cheeses, and Carr Valley now produces more than 50 original varieties. He crafts cheese the old-fashioned way, by hand, with a goal of producing high-quality cheese with outstanding flavor.  Carr Valley sources cow's milk from 40 farms that are situated on soft flowing hills and green pastures within 20 miles of the central Wisconsin plant - each farmer milking no more than 70 cows. Sheep's milk comes largely from one dairy and goat's milk from a group of eight farms in the Green Bay area.

SID COOK AT CHEESEMAKER NIGHT WITH BORDER 1.jpgSid admits that he eats, sleeps and dreams about cheese.  Of the 80 varieties he currently crafts, more than half are his own creations.  He has named his original creations after natural landmarks, such as his Baraboo Blue or after his family, including daughter, Marisa, 20 and son, Sam, 25.  In fact, Sid describes his Cave Aged Marisa, a seasonal cheese made with milk from pastured Wisconsin sheep, much as he describes his daughter - sweet and slightly rambunctious!

Sid has a great article in the Wall State Journal that we would like to share:

Applewood Smoked Cheddar

This cheddar starts with a traditional cheddar recipe. When finished, 12 lb. wheels are then smoked over applewood before being hand rubbed with paprika, which gives the cheeses their very distinct orange rind. The cheese is ivory-white and has a supple, moist texture that is classically that of Wisconsin cheddar. Flavors show the sweetness of the milk and are balanced by light smoke with the spicyness imparted by the paprika.


Sid's version of the French cheese Morbier. Made in two halves, one from sheep's milk and one from goat's milk, the two halves are pressed together after production, but separated by a decorative line of ash running horizontally through the middle. There is also a light dusting of ash on the rind.  The texture of Mobay is semisoft and supple. The color of the interior paste is bone-white, apart from the line of ash. The flavor of Mobay is both delicate and rustic. The sweetness of the sheep's milk is balanced out by the bright tang of the goat's milk. It is interesting to try each layer separately and then together, for a variety of flavor profiles.


2nd Place in its class 2004 and 2005 American Cheese Society Competition

Caso Bolo Mellage

Made with sheep, goat and cow milk, in 3# balls, it is aged two years.  Its flavor is complex, pleasing and has a nutty finish.


1st place 2004 American Cheese Society Competition
1st Place in American Made/International Style 2011 American Cheese Society Competition

Caved Aged Marissa

This sheep milk cheese is aged for six months in an open-air cave where it is endowed with a complex sweet earthiness. A high butterfat content balances the cheese's inherent saltiness with a rich creaminess that deepens as Cave-Aged Marisa ages.


2nd Place Best of Show 2011 American Cheese Society Competition
1st Place in its class 2005 American Cheese Society Competition
Blue Ribbon prize winner 2005 Wisconsin State Fair
2nd Place in its class at the 2005 World Cheese Competition

Snow White Goat Cheddar

Creamy white goat cheddar cheese made in 38 lb wheels and cave aged for 6 months.


2008 Best in Show at American Cheese Society Competition
2nd Place 2007 American Cheese Society Competition