Do you know where to get the best cheese in the Midwest? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not Wisconsin. You just have to head 30 mins south of the Cities, to Faribault. There you will find The Cheese Cave’s making their award-winning blue cheeses that date back all the way to 1936. According to Legend, the first blue cheese was born in the caves of France where the perfect combination of humidity and temperature allowed for blue-green molds to grow. The tradition continues in Fairbolt, MN. This is where the first blue cheeses were made in America. Today you can sample and a purchase the cheeses at The Cheese Cave in downtown Faribault.
The caves were carved by Ernst & Gottfried Fleckenstein for the Fleckenstein Brewing Co. The caves made it a perfect location because it kept everything cool. Once probation started in 1919, the business wasn’t able to survive. In 1936 Felix Frederiksen found the abandon caves and started to make the first blue cheese. Prior to Fredericksen, all blue cheese was imported from France. At the start of World War II, it became harder to import the cheese from France, and Frederiksen’s business took off. He started to dig out more caves. The company today has since changed ownership but is still producing award-winning varieties.
Part of its success it due to the unique sandstone caves. Not only do they sit on the same line of latitude as Rouquefort, France, where the first blue cheeses were made, but the sandstone also absorbs some of the elements of the cheese. This adds to the rich flavors of the cheese during the aging process. Due to tour federal regulations, they are unable to do tours of their operation anymore.
You can visit their store. There you will find over 40 different premium kinds of cheese to sample. If you are not a foodie, the knowledgeable staff will help you pick out the perfect pairing for any meal. What I loved during my visit is that they wouldn’t let us purchase the Rattlesnake cheese without trying it first. It is known as one of their spiciest varieties. When we were not sure on how much we wanted to take home, they offered to cut down the size to meet our needs. I was very impressed with their customer service. We ended up leaving with multiple different kinds of cheese. In addition to their cheese shop, they also have Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches that are served daily.
If you are looking for something new to try, I would defiantly stop by. Don’t worry; they have the tame and non-blue cheese varieties too. You can even purchase online and they will ship it right to you.
318 Central Ave. N, Suite 6 | Faribault, MN 55021
Open: Tues – Sat 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.