MADISON, Wis. — In cheese-obsessed Wisconsin, which proudly touts itself as America’s Dairyland, the dairy cow is the official home animal, milk is the official state beverage and cheese is the official dairy product.
However imagine it or not, in a state that produces extra cheese than every other at 3.4 billion kilos (1.5 billion kilograms) every year, there isn’t a official state cheese.
A bipartisan invoice heard by a state Meeting committee on Wednesday would change that.
The measure makes colby, which was created in Wisconsin greater than 100 years in the past, the official cheese. Colby could also be as “gouda” selection as any, however the selection threatens to show followers of cheddar, swiss, provolone and different varieties purple, or maybe blue, within the face with rage.
Colby additionally holds a particular place in Wisconsin cheese historical past. It was created within the central Wisconsin metropolis of, you guessed it, Colby in 1885. Joseph Steinwand created the cheese and named it after the township the place his father constructed northern Clark County’s first cheese manufacturing facility, in keeping with a state historic marker within the metropolis situated about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Wausau.
Colby isn’t essentially the most produced cheese in Wisconsin. Mozzarella is tops, adopted by cheddar and a few Italian varieties, in keeping with the USDA. Nonetheless, greater than 45 million kilos (20 million kilograms) of colby is produced at Wisconsin’s 150 cheese crops every year.
For the unfamiliar, colby is mostly regarded as a milder type of cheddar however has extra texture and tastes sweeter.
The invoice has been launched a number of occasions, together with in 2019, however by no means handed as a consequence of considerations that naming only one official cheese would damage the gross sales, or popularity, of others.
“I simply have a difficulty making one cheese the state cheese,” stated Republican Rep. Rick Gundrum. “There’s all kinds of shops and retailers in my district which have all kinds of cheese that they promote. Cheese may be very well-liked within the state of Wisconsin, as is sausage. I can’t get behind it.”
“As Winston Churchill stated, ‘By no means surrender, by no means surrender, by no means surrender.’ So I’m not going to surrender,” stated invoice co-sponsor Sen. Kathy Bernier. “Wisconsin does cheese higher than anyone else and colby is the Wisconsin unique that helped remodel our state into America’s Dairyland.”
Backers, who tried and didn’t cross the invoice final session, stated recognizing colby isn’t about saying it’s the most effective or hottest in Wisconsin, however recognizing its distinctive state historical past.
The invoice must clear the state Senate and Meeting, and be signed by Gov. Tony Evers, earlier than turning into legislation.