A French Touch in Wisconsin’s Cheese Culture

When you think of cheese you think of Wisconsin. But the love of cheese has no boundaries as a french native found himself drawn to the world of cheesemaking. Orphee Paillotin, owner of Alpinage Cheese in Oak Creek is one of the few cheesemakers that makes raclette cheese. He says that’s where his French background comes in handy.

“Just over two years ago, we took the leap of faith, quitting our jobs to dedicate ourselves fully to our cheese-making endeavor,” he said. “We wanted to introduce young Raclette cheese to Wisconsin, a product not readily available in the region.”

Raclette cheese, popular in Europe, offers more than just a culinary delight; it provides an experience. Traditionally enjoyed melted over potatoes, bread, meats, and pickles, Raclette cheese transforms a meal into a communal event, fostering connections and creating memories.

“We’re not just making cheese; we’re crafting an experience. Our American Raclette is designed to be versatile, equally enjoyable as a table cheese or melted.”

Maintaining consistency in artisanal cheese-making is a challenge that Paillotin and his team embrace. While fluctuations in taste and texture occur naturally due to seasonal variations in milk, they view it as an integral part of their craft, celebrating the uniqueness of each batch.

“Our goal is not to mass-produce uniform cheese but to honor the essence of artisanal craftsmanship. Every day, we strive to achieve the perfect balance of flavor and consistency, ensuring that each wheel of Raclette cheese embodies our passion and dedication.”