They age cheese in caves — and there’s a gourmet restaurant with a patio. Just hearing this was intriguing enough to lead us to Egg Harbor for lunch.
Door Artisan Cheese Co. opened in April 2017, but Master Cheesemaker, President and CEO Michael Brennenstuhl this year won a first and third in the World Cheese Championships held in Madison. Such delicacies are found on the gourmet menu on the premises at Glacier Ledge Restaurant. You can also buy them in the specialty shop, Cave Market.
We started with a cheese curd tray with tomato jam, ranch and chive crème fraiche, then nibbled on the Thai Style Pork Bites and a burger adorned with the gold medal award-winning Top Hat Cheddar (each $12). Executive Chef Lawrence Hutchinson stopped by, and we learned the California native honed his skills in Vermont, Missouri and California. He also helped start Rye restaurant in Appleton.
Brennenstuhl leads visitors on a tour of his underground, man-made “caves” with temperature and humidity controls to age specific styles of cheese. His years of experience in cheesemaking, from his hometown in Manawa and all over Wisconsin, to Denver and Montreal, prepared him to compete with the old masters.
“It’s easy for someone to say that they’re the best, but as you can see, I didn’t spare anything in the investment in the building,” he says. “Now we have a world champion, cave-aged cheddar, to prove it.”
— Margaret LeBrun