The grocery store chain ALDI made headlines last year when it released a cheese advent calendar. Given all the buzz, we decided to create our dream advent calendar with cow and goat milk cheeses from farms across the country. Nominations were provided by Progressive Dairy producer bloggers and staff. They are listed in no particular order.advertisementadvertisementDid we miss your favorite? Email Emily Gwinemily@progressivepublish.com, and we’ll add it to next year’s calendar.About the cheeses we chose:1. Cave Aged AlpineMarcoot Jersey CreameryGreenville, IllinoisMarcoot Jersey CreameryFrom the website: “‘Asiago meets Swiss’ to create this complex cheese, which features a unique sharpness with age. Ideal for grating over pasta or melting into a creamy alfredo sauce or enjoying as a table cheese.”advertisement“This is one of my favorites as it can sit on a cheeseboard OR can be used in a creamy alfredo sauce. I also love that this cheese is made by fellow female Jersey breeders. Their story is so cool to watch, and they even had an episode on FarmHer’s TV show!”PHOTO: Courtesy Marcoot Jersey Creamery.—Nominated by Pennsylvania dairy farmer Renée Norman-Kenny2. Jeffs’ Select GoudaCaves of FaribaultFaribault, MinnesotaCaves of Faribault“Joint ventures are nothing new in the dairy industry, but it is unique that a delicious cheese resulted from one. Two states and two Jeffs combined to create Caves of Faribault. Made from pasteurized cows’ milk in Wisconsin and cave aged in Minnesota, Jeff’s Select Gouda is like taking a bite of a surprise! The natural, annato-rubbed rind gives it a vibrant orange color with an unexpected bold taste that is just a bit salty and delicious. The rich yellow cheese inside is slightly sweet with nutty caramel undertones and a smooth creamy finish.”advertisementPHOTO: Courtesy Caves of Faribault.—Nominated by Indiana dairy farmer Sam Schwoeppe3. DaganoMichigan State University Dairy StoreLansing, MichiganMichigan State University Dairy StoreFrom the website: “An invention of the MSU dairy. Inspired by Dutch cheeses Gouda & Edam; it is a brined, semi-soft cheese with a smooth elastic body and mild flavor. Like a Swiss, eyes form while aging and contribute to Dagano’s unique aesthetic.”“Dagano is in the Havarti family (which is my favorite). It’s a little harder than the traditional Havarti and has a yellow color, but it has the smooth, delicious taste these cheeses are known for.”PHOTO: Courtesy Michigan State University Dairy Plant.—Nominated by Michigan dairy farmer Ashley Messing-Kennedy4. Tomato Bacon Basil Cheese CurdsDecatur DairyBrodhead, WisconsinDecatur Dairy“I love Decatur Dairy’s fresh and multi-flavored cheese curds. They have so many flavors, it is hard to pick a favorite. This one is their muenster curd with tomato bacon basil flavoring. They are also well-known for their award-winning havarti, muenster and brick cheeses.”—Nominated by PD Editor Karen Lee5. Little Lucy BrieRedhead CreameryBrooton, MinnesotaRedhead CreameryFrom the website: “This smooth and creamy little wheel of brie cheese is extra special to all of us at Redhead Creamery. It’s small, cute and simply irresistible… just like a sweet little girl we know. It’s named after Alise and Lucas’ daughter, Lucy. It’s the perfect sized appetizer for two or three people to enjoy on the grill, baked or simply at room temperature. Enjoy with a glass (or two) of Chardonnay or Frontenac.”“My favorite brie.”PHOTO: Courtesy Redhead Creamery.—Nominated by Wisconsin dairy farmer Amber McComish6. MarscaponeCrave Brothers Farmstead CheeseWaterloo, WisconsinCrave Brothers Farmstead CheeseFrom the website: “Our farmstead Mascarpone is crafted from fresh, sweet cream. Luxurious and velvety, perfect for sweet and savory culinary applications. Stir into soups, sauces, pasta, risotto or coffee. Pair with strawberries, honey, ginger snaps, chocolate or lemon.”PHOTO: Courtesy Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese. —Nominated by PD staff7. Muranda BlueMuranda Cheese CompanyWaterloo, New YorkMuranda Cheese CompanyFrom the website: “The strongest of our cheeses, this cows’ milk blue is one-of-a-kind in the Finger Lakes. Aged for about two months, enjoy this blue with any full-bodied red for a taste that will knock your socks off.”“Muranda Blue is one of my favorite blue cheeses as it is creamy and delicious if you love a blue cheese! It is delicious to enjoy in their beautiful event barn with a glass of red wine.”PHOTO: Courtesy Muranda Cheese Company.—Nominated by Pennsylvania dairy farmer Renée Norman-Kenny8. Pleasant Ridge ReserveUplands CheeseDodgeville, WisconsinUplands CheeseFrom the website: “an aged, alpine-style cheese. [It] is made only in the summer months, while our cows are grazing fresh pasture. The sweetness born from the grass-fed milk combines with the savory flavors developed by the cheese’s natural, washed rind. The resulting complexity – rich and salty, with a long, fruity finish – has made Pleasant Ridge one of the most distinctive and celebrated cheeses in the country.”PHOTO: Courtesy Uplands Cheese.—Nominated by Wisconsin dairy farmer Amber McComish9. Sweet GrassBroadrun FarmsBeaver Falls, PennsylvaniaBroadrun Farms“My brother and sister-in-law started making cheese from their organic grazing herd in 2017. Sweet Grass is their newest and best-tasting product to date, in my humble and unbiased opinion. It’s a Gouda style, and a great snacking cheese, as all of the adults and kids in our family can attest.”PHOTO: By Emily Gwin.—Nominated by PD Editor Emily Gwin10. Gouda agedEden CreameryKuna, IdahoEden CreameryFrom the website: “Smooth and creamy texture and yet elastic texture.”PHOTO: Courtesy Eden Creamery. —Nominated by Progressive Publishing IT specialist Tor Osthed11. Chevre Pear Cardamom with cinnamonSweet Pea CheeseNorth Granby, ConnecticutFacebook: Sweet Pea Cheese“If there was ever a perfect cheese for fall, I think this is it. I love the way the sweet pear balances the saltiness of the goat cheese and the cardamom adds a little spice to make the perfect snack with crackers and a glass of fresh apple cider.”PHOTO: By Leslie Hurty.—Nominated by PD Editor Jenna Hurty-Person12. Marinated FetaBrazos Valley CheeseWaco, TexasBrazos Valley CheeseFrom the website: “Our craft feta cheese marinated in olive oil with tomatoes, garlic, and basil, topped off with a pinch of sea salt. Great for salads, snacks, toppings, or straight out of the jar.”PHOTO: Courtesy Brazos Valley Cheese.—Nominated by Progressive Cattle Editor David Cooper13. Bay BlueChapel’s Country CreameryEaston, MarylandChapel’s Country CreameryFrom the website: “Our natural-rind, beautifully veined blue is a Stilton-style variety with creamy undercurrents.”PHOTO: Courtesy Chapel’s Country Creamery. —Nominated by PD staff14. Dilly GirlMuranda CheeseWaterloo, New YorkMuranda CheeseFrom the website: “This medium sharp cheddar with fresh homegrown dill weed and roasted garlic is made from raw milk and offers a mouth full of flavor in every bite. This cheese is a great complement to any full-bodied red, and great on fish.”PHOTO: Courtesy Muranda Cheese Company.—Nominated by Pennsylvania dairy blogger Rebecca Shaw15. ApfelhellerHelvetia CreameryHelvetia, OregonHelvetia CreameryFrom the website: “Our family is now the 6th generation to farm and raise Brown Swiss cows and carry on the tradition of producing Bergkäese (Swiss Alpine cheese) in Helvetia. Apfelheller is a Gruyere style with a delightfully nutty undertone and full-flavored.”PHOTO: Courtesy Helvetia Creamery. —Nominated by PD Editor Audrey Schmitz16. Amish CreameryHeritage Ridge CreameryMiddlebury, IndianaHeritage Ridge CreameryFrom the website: “a mild cheese that uses selected cultures to develop a ‘buttery’ flavor.”“This cheese is a great eating cheese. It has a slightly sharp flavor but is so delicious. I love eating it with meat and a well-paired wine.”PHOTO: Courtesy Michigan Milk Producers Association.—Nominated by Michigan dairy farmer Ashley Messing-Kennedy17. Idaho Golden Greek Grillin’ CheeseBallard Family Dairy and CheeseGooding, IdahoBallard Family Dairy and Cheese“During a 2015 company meeting, the Progressive Publishing staff was able to visit Ballards’ family farm and sample their cheese. There’s just something seriously cool about being able to fry up cubes of cheese in a pan or throw it on the grill.”PHOTO: Courtesy Molly’s Mills.—Nominated by PD Editor Emily Gwin18. Marieke Gouda (Plain Young)Marieke GoudaThorp, WisconsinMarieke GoudaFrom the website: “Creamy, buttery and mild with slightly sweet notes. Pair with peach preserves and toasted almonds, buttery Chardonnay or Amber beer.”“This is my favorite cheese to use when I have guests.”PHOTO: Courtesy Marieke Gouda, LLC.—Nominated by Wisconsin dairy farmer Amber McComish19. North Fork Whiskey Washed MunsterRedhead CreameryBrooton, MinnesotaRedhead CreameryFrom the website: “This award-winning munster cheese was named after our township and the North Fork of the Crow river, based in Redhead Creamery’s back field. Our North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster is a French-style munster that has been washed with local Minnesota 14 Whiskey made at nearby Panther Distillery (Osakis, Minnesota). Its creaminess, stink and pungency are exactly what we are going for. And as a side note… North Fork makes a great grilled cheese and appetizer when warmed up.”PHOTO: Courtesy Redhead Creamery.—Nominated by PD Editor Dave Natzke20. Cheddar cheese B. Kurt DairyBarneveld, WisconsinFacebook: B. Kurt DairyFrom the website: “Bryanna and Dylan Handel started dairy farming in 2014 with 16 cows and a rented barn. In the last four years, they have grown their family, herd and land base. They started making cheese in 2018.”PHOTO: By Bryanna Handel.—Nominated by Wisconsin dairy farmer Brittany Olson21. Estero GoldValley Ford CreameryValley Ford, CaliforniaValley Ford CreameryFrom the website: “Estero gold is handmade in the style of an Asiago, reminiscent of a Montasio, two of the famous cheeses from the Swiss-Italian dairy country. Its subtle, creamy and buttery taste nicely complements other foods. Its fine rustic flavor can be paired with any wine. It also melts wonderfully in pastas and polenta, or try it shredded on a salad.”—Nominated by PD staff22. ChandokaLaClare Family CreameryMalone, WisconsinLaClare Family CreameryFrom the website: “Mild, fruity cheese with rich, cheddary notes. The cow milk develops sweet buttery characteristics, as the goat milk develops sweet tangy notes, creating a wonderfully flavorful cheese.”“This mixed-milk cheese is just right. Not too hard, not too soft. And the goat milk blend deepens and diversifies the flavor beyond what one would expect from a regular cheddar. As a caveat, you can go see for yourself how the cheese is made right at the creamery.”PHOTO: By Peggy Coffeen.—Nominated by PD Editor Peggy Coffeen23. Organic Rogue River BlueRogue CreameryCentral Point, OregonRogue CreameryFrom the website: “On October 18, Rogue River Blue was named World Champion at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy, besting 3,800 of the world’s finest cheeses from 42 countries on 6 continents. This is the greatest honor a cheese can receive, and the first time an American-made cheese has been honored with this distinction.”PHOTO: Courtesy Rogue Creamery.—Nominated by Progressive Publishing photographer Mike Dixon24. Smoked CheddarKimberly’s BestKimberly, IdahoKimberly’s Best CreameryFrom the website: “Kimberly’s Best Creamery’s extraordinary milk comes from well-cared-for goats and A1-free milk-producing cows eating only the best quality forages.”“Try it in ‘Carmel Apple Pie with Smoked Cheddar Crust’ – the recipe can be found on the website.”PHOTO: Courtesy Kimberly’s Best. —Nominated by Progressive Publishing Copyeditor Kelly McCoyDownload our cheese advent calendar.