SHULLSBURG (WKOW) -- Wisconsin's Master Cheesemaker Program has been around for more than 20 years, and Chris Roelli of Roelli Cheese in Shullsburg is proud to be part of this elite group of cheesemakers.
"It's a sense of pride obviously. It shows that you've accomplished the highest level of your craft. You know there's…there's certain stores, certain businesses around the country that will source master's made cheeses first." Said Roelli.
Having just recently earned his second and third certifications in blue-type and alpine-style cheeses, Roelli says it's a chance for him to increase his knowledge as well as help market his cheese.
Roelli said "I think the furthering education is part of it, but you can only use the Master's mark on the cheeses that you're certified in. So from a marketing standpoint if you want to market it under the master's label, you have to be certified in that cheese."
Focusing on his small-batch artisan cheeses like Red Rock, Dunbarton Blue, and Little Mountain, Roelli says the Master Cheesemaker Program has definitely helped him elevate his cheesemaking skills.
According to Roelli "The Master's program has forced me to pay attention more to details. And in cheese-- details is really the difference between great cheese and good cheese. Everything that we've accomplished through the program has paid off for us."
Winning "Best of Show" at the American Cheese Society competition in 2016 increased the popularity and demand for Roelli's Little Mountain alpine-style cheese.
"We want the prestige of this program to be on a world-class level. We police it that way. We want to be successful and succeed and produce a level of quality that is on a world-class level." Roelli said.