Red Rock by Roelli Cheese – Red Rock is the second cheese we have picked up from the master of Blue/Cheddar combos Chris Roelli.  Chris is the fourth generation of Roellis to make Cheddar cheese in Wisconsin.  After low commodity pricing forced them to close shop in the 1990s, the family kept a business going hauling milk from local farms to local dairies.  But that didn’t sit well with Chris, who had cheesemaking in his blood.  He remembers how his father used to throw him into the vat as a young kid and tell him he couldn’t come out until it was completely clean.  In the mid- 2000s, Chris re-opened Roelli Cheese Haus, focusing on small batch, artisan cheeses.   

Much like his signature cheese Dunbarton Blue, Red Rock comes from a simple idea that produced extraordinary results.  Chris knew how to make a solid block of Cheddar.  He decided to inoculate the milk with blue mold, cut a block into five pound prints, pierce them and let them age in his caves where they could grow a beautiful mottled grey mold rind.  When you cut into Red Rock, the paste has a darker orange/red color more similar in appearance to Mimolette than Cheddar, interspersed with small areas of streaking blue.  I think the most common reaction people have to it is to scratch their head and say “What is that? And can I try it?”  While we love the flavor of all of Chris Roelli’s cheeses, we love the conversation-starter potential they hold just as much. ©