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Best Regional Cheese 

Otter Creek Spring Cheddar

ottercreekorganicfarm.com

There are plenty of candidates for a title like this at the pungent, veiny, defiantly Old World end of the cheese spectrum, but I choose Otter Creek’s Spring Cheddar, which takes a style defined by supermarket mediocrity and reminds you just how much life, color, and personality it can have. It’s one of four seasonal cheddars that get their character from what the cows at this organic farm in Spring Green, Wisconsin, eat at different times of the year. Made for Otter Creek by Bob Wills, master cheese maker at the award-winning Cedar Grove Cheese, this is still recognizably the stuff on your grilled cheese sandwich, but it exudes the flavor of milk and pasture and green grass on a sunny day in a way that cheddar hasn’t in a long time, if ever. Available at Provenance (2528 N. California, 773-384-0699 and 2312 N. Leland, 773-784-2314, provenancefoodandwine.com) and the Logan Square Farmers’ Market.

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)