- ABOUT -
Orphee and Paula met in 2014, sharing an instant connection, much of which related to cheese, farming and food. Orphee, a native of France with a passion for food science and entrepreneurship, and Paula, the daughter of dairy farmers and a cheesemaker, have always had plenty to discuss and jointly dream about. They have woven their lives together for almost a decade now, with cheese always being a common thread. Although it took many years of dreaming, planning, and preparing to build their own cheese company, they never gave up on the idea that together they could create high quality French-Alpine style cheeses made with local Wisconsin milk. Under the mentorship of Paula’s cheesemaker father, Jerry, Orphee successfully attained his Wisconsin Cheesemaker License, a one year short course, through the Center for Dairy Research at UW-Madison in 2019. He then studied the art and science of affinage (aging) in France under Laurent Mons at the world famous Academy Mons. On the other hand, Paula, having grown up as part of the 6th generation on her family’s dairy farm in Manitowoc County, watched her parents build a cheesemaking company from the ground up using the milk from their farm. Having been in the cheese world since she was in diapers, she has a unique world of experience and knowledge built up that has contributed to where Alpinage is at today. Finally in 2019, they found the perfect space in Oak Creek to construct a fully licensed dairy plant. This cave-like aging facility is where the magic of affinage, or the art and science of aging cheese, happens.
Having a cheese company is more than a full-time gig. When they aren't making and aging the cheese, most of their time is spent packaging wedges and wheels to deliver to retailers and restaurants, selling their products at local farmers markets as well as sampling and talking with customers at nearby grocery stores.
Alpinage has partnered with a state of the art farmstead creamery in Kewaunee, Wisconsin. We start each cheesemaking day beginning at the crack of dawn by bringing in fresh, raw milk, straight from the parlor to the make room within 2 minutes of the cows being milked. Next, we add helpful bacteria known as starter culture, and then rennet which coagulates the milk. Once the curd sets and forms a solid mass, we cut and gently stir it while it separates from the whey. The curds are then cooked and the whey is drained so we can hydraulically press the cheese into molds where they take the shape of wheels. After many hours of pressing and rotating, the wheels are finally put into a salt bath called a brine where they float overnight. This vital step aid in flavor production as well as preservation.
The next day, the cheese is ready to be brought back to their "nursery,” AKA their aging facility in Oak Creek, where they are being taken care of each day with much care and attention.
It's no secret that making cheese is a labor of love. Our cheese being washed rind types, they need to be flipped, rotated and brushed with a "morge" solution made of pasteurized water, salt and cultures almost everyday to add a unique flavor profile and deliciousness to our products, each bath at a time.
Now specializing in "affinage", the maturation process of cheese, Orphee and Paula opened their first dairy plant entirely dedicated to the art and science of aging cheese in 2020 in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
This is where we take care of our Raclette cheese year long, using traditional craftmanship to produce cheese of the highest quality for you to enjoy.
Viewing window looking into the Alpinage aging cellar
Our commitment to make exceptionally delicious, healthy and safe cheese is our number one priority.
Our award-winning Mount Raclette is a rich, buttery & nutty Alpine-style cheese. We use raw cows milk which adds a flavor complexity second to none.
Traditionally, Raclette is meant to be melted and scraped over a plate of baby potatoes, pickles and cured meat. It's high moisture content makes it wonderful for melting in many warm dishes such as pasta, potatoes au gratin and grilled cheese sandwiches. It's also a spectacular table cheese enjoyed by itself, or with a glass of wine and a crispy fresh baguette.