Legislature tries again to declare official state cheese

Learn how to make delicious recipes with award-winning Wisconsin cheese.
Learn how to make delicious recipes with award-winning Wisconsin cheese.(NBC15)
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 4:00 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - In cheese-obsessed Wisconsin, which proudly touts itself as America’s Dairyland, the dairy cow is the official domestic animal, milk is the official state beverage and cheese is the official dairy product. But believe it or not, in a state that produces more cheese than any other at 3.4 billion pounds each year, there is no official state cheese.

A bipartisan bill being heard by a state Assembly committee on Wednesday would change that.

The measure makes colby, which was created in Wisconsin more than 100 years ago, the official cheese.

The bill must pass the Legislature and be signed by Gov. Tony Evers before becoming law.

According to the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Colby cheese was developed at a small, family-run cheese factory outside of the Colby, west of Wausau. The process was similar to making cheddar cheese, except the curds were washed in cold water, pressed, then aged for just 1 to 3 months. The result was a sweeter, milder, cheese with a more buttery finish compared to cheddar.

The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin say the state’s cheesemakers produce 45 million pounds of Colby every year.

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