Sjostrom enjoys collaborating with other craft producers, both by using their whiskey or cider to wash her cheeses and by hosting events with local wineries, breweries, and distilleries. She’s honed her pairing recommendations over the years, with a focus on Minnesota-made wines and beers. “Our Lucky Linda, or really any of our cheddars, goes really nicely with a Marquette [a University of Minnesota-developed cold-hardy grape variety] or a darker dry red wine.”
“On the beer side, our Little Lucy Brie is good with stouts, or a chardonnay on the wine side. We like to contrast our flavors, to make it a fun experience. Pairing peanut butter stout with the Little Lucy Brie, and putting some cherry jam with it to make it like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, is super good.”
The next phase for Redhead Creamery also involves alcohol: the addition of an on-site distillery. “We will be making spirits out of whey—araga is the technical term for [the spirit]. There’s lactose left in the whey, which allows us to ferment it,” Sjostrom explains. “Then we can distill the end product, and we end up with a clear spirit with some flavor. It’s similar to vodka, but the goal of vodka is to be flavorless, and that’s not our goal. We want something that has a creamy flavor to it and will be a good drink mixer.”
Pending approval by the state of Minnesota, Sjostrom hopes to open the distillery by Christmas. She’s also looking forward to expanding Redhead Creamery’s tour options.
“I want to be able to show people [the process] from baby calf to milking cow to fluid milk to cheese to spirits and explain the science and art behind everything we do—I’m really excited to be able to welcome people here to experience that.”
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