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Freshie Faves: Sartori Cheeses

The “Big Cheese” has struck again. A tall, lanky friend of mine leads the way of all things cheese at FRESH. Andrew Griffith, Charcuterie and Cheese Manager, is the kind of comrade you want on your side. He is quick witted, amazing on stilts and man, does he know his cheese. Perhaps you have met him lurking by the Limburger or standing by the Stilton. He is always on hand when you need a nibble of Beemster and for that; I will always be in his debt.

And it seems that my debt ledger is ever increasing. In part due to my new find via Andrew, Sartori Cheese. Sartori has been making award-winning artisan cheese in Wisconsin since 1939, including the recent gold medal winner of the 2011 U.S. Cheese Championship Contest. The cheesemakers at Sartori have won over 100 international awards in the past few years. They are as impressive and they are tasty!

Let’s go for the gold. BellaVitano Gold that is. A Sartori-family original, this rich, creamy cheese with its nutty, fruity flavor is also, in all modesty, a celebrated gold-medal winner. Inspired by traditional, Italian farmstead cheese, BellaVitano Gold begins in the mouth like a premium parmesan and finishes in award-winning style with hints of melted butter.

Now on to the Balsamic BellaVitano. The sweet, nutty, fruity flavors of the most-sought-after BellaVitano become even more desirable when blessed with a few prized drops of Modena balsamic vinegar. By gently bathing BellaVitano Gold in balsamic, cheesemaker Mike Matucheski has given it a sweet coating that burnishes the legend of BellaVitano with yet another honor from the World Cheese Awards.

Let’s toast to the Merlot BellaVitano. By wedding this rich, creamy cheese to the berry and plum notes of Merlot, they have created a marriage of flavors destined to make your taste buds say, “I do.” On that note, if you invite a few friends — say, toasted walnuts, thin slices of prosciutto and semisweet chocolates for dessert — the honeymoon never has to end.