Here’s a fun fact for you: Not one of our 50 states has an official state cheese. I know, it’s shocking. But Wisconsin, the Dairy State, has plans to take the lead. Although it already has a state dairy product, which is... Wisconsin cheese. But official cheese and official dairy product are two separate categories, so there’s no reason to be confused at all.
Anyway, back in October, a group of lawmakers introduced a bill in the state legislature in Madison to make colby the official state cheese. Yesterday, Madison’s News 3 reported, the Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection heard public comment on the proposal. Residents of Colby, Wisconsin, where colby cheese was invented in 1885, felt very strongly about the issue and turned out in force. They brought the high school show choir dressed in matching colby cheesehead hats (distinguished from regular cheesehead hats in that they represent not a wedge, but a whole cheese with a wedge carved out) to sing an original song about the greatness of colby cheese.
“The way these public commenters make it sound,” reported News 3’s Amy Reid, “everyone in the 1800-person town has a deep connection to it.”
No one posted any objection to colby becoming the state cheese. (Reid noted that wisconsincheese.com claimed that if there were a frontrunner, it would be colby.) Cheddar is quite similar, but it originated in England, which doesn’t qualify it as a Wisconsin cheese. The only real competition, at least according to Reid, would have been brick cheese, but no brick supporters showed up for the hearing, maybe because it doesn’t have its own town.
But I ask you, why has no one brought up the cheese curd? What other cheeses are in danger of being slighted? Related: which other cheeses deserve their own special varietal hat?