Deer Creek cheeses represent some of the very best and most consistent cheeses in the marketplace. Cheesemaker Chris Gentine hand selects outstanding specialty vats and partners with some of the very best cheesemakers in Wisconsin to handcraft unique originals and renovate heritage classics.
Location: Sheboygan, WI
Getting started and inspiration:
Deer Creek Cheese began in response to an international demand for consistent, exceptional cheeses from the United States. Deer Creek founder and licensed cheese grader Chris Gentine started by hand-selecting aged cheddars to create the now infamous Vat 17 World Cheddar. The creation of this unique cheese began as a quest to capture the best flavor attributes from cheddars around the world and blend them into one unique cheese.
Love of food inspires Deer Creek, they believe that food should be enjoyed, not just simply eaten. Deer Creek aspires to create the exceptional by taking a cheese that everyone knows and loves—like cheddar or blue—and turn it into something truly remarkable. Their Blue Jay is a perfect example, starting with a deliciously creamy quintuple crème blue cheese and adding crushed juniper berries. The Juniper releases its perfume and beautifully complements the blue’s botanical nature, resulting in an unexpected, delicate pine that builds as you eat it.
Growth and challenges:
The Deer Creek portfolio of cheeses has been growing for the past seven years. The animal series is a collection of handmade, artisan cheese with whimsical labels, unique stories, and award-winning flavor. Be on the lookout for new arrivals, their ideas for cheeses to create are endless.
With continual innovation, not every idea comes out perfectly. “We have a saying at the office,” says Chris, “not every vat is an A.” That means back to the drawing board, making adjustments and tweaking ideas until the team creates something truly exceptional.
Deer Creek is truly unique from their hand-drawn labels to the exceptional cheeses. MoonRabbit was just awarded the trophy for Best Label Design at the 2017 International Cheese Awards held in Nantwich, U.K. with several other labels taking gold, silver and bronze for best label design. Deer Creek cheeses have won 60 podium awards to date in cheese competitions around the world.
Striving to make every vat consistent and award winning entices customers to buy Deer Creek cheese again and again. Delicious stand-alone cheeses, Deer Creek cheeses are also excellent culinary cheeses, check out their website for recipes and inspiration. A WiscoBoxes favorite— The Doe (Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Infused Specialty Cheddar) stuffed french toast with buttery Grand Marnier glaze.
Chris and his wife Julie were both born in Wisconsin and are proud to have Deer Creek based in their home-state with its rich cheese making and dairy heritage. They enjoy Wisconsin’s beauty and in particular, always enjoy visiting Door County. The Deer Creek team keeps their work fun by making sure to take time for their families. “Plus, we get to eat cheese whenever we want,” Chris adds.
*Photo courtesy of Deer Creek Cheese