In the flat-earth portion of Illinois, where the ground and sky meet at the very edges of the horizon, and short drive east from Urbana – it’s there great cheese is made. Ludwig Farmstead Creamery recently hit our shelves (our fridge, technically) and we’re enamored; their cheeses are consistently fantastic, giving Wisconsin cheese a run for it’s money – means a lot coming from us northern natives.
The whole thing at Ludwig started five generations ago with their family farm – settled in 1866. Their focus for so long has been the breeding and raising of pedigree, purebred Holstein dairy cattle. The cheese aspect didn’t sprout until one of the Ludwig boys spent time as a Chemistry student at the University of Illinois. Jake Ludwig started his mind to work on a true farmstead cheese brand that included his family’s pristine cattle, learning the trade at a Pennsylvania creamery, and coming back to the farm to plan and start his own. Sadly, Jake passed unexpectedly but his family saw his dream through and saw the cheese production into swing. Their work with creamery manager parsed wonderful cheeses as well as a great memorial to Jacob’s favorite: havardi. They stuck to Jake’s plan, to create cheese from same-day milk from their own homestead cattle, for true terroir cheeses make right here in Illinois.
We proudly carry four of their cheeses in our case: Vermilion River Blue, Kickapoo, Jake’s Wheel (Mustard), and Feather Ridge. Starting with their longest made cheese, Feather Ridge, is more like a swiss-style cheese with a heavy nod to great european wheels; it’s rich with fresh raw milk which attribute to it’s complex earthiness that couples with hay and a lovely finish – simple and delicious. Ludwig’s Vermilion River Blue cheese pairs the rich creaminess of of cream cheese and adds the pleasant and tasty find of veins making for a tangy/fresh treat fit for any plate. Kickapoo is akin to the rich Buterkäse cheeses we’ve come to love, it’s a rich deep butter flavor with a decently sharp finish, it’s wonderful melted on top of burgers or added to a grilled cheese. Ludwig Farmstead Creamery creates a whole line of havarti cheeses with the freshed milk humanly possible which makes an amazing base cheese, we’ve picked up their mustard for it’s ability to go-on, melt-in just about anything.
Pick up a slice of these incredible super-fresh cheese wheels right out of our cooler. We think they’re wonderful and can stand on their own or paired with any number of culinary creations – Ludwig Farmstead Creamery is not to be ignored.