Walt Churchill’s Market Welcomes the “Big Cheese”
Walt Churchill’s Market in Perrysburg is kicking off the holiday season with the arrival of a 2,000-pound wheel of Wisconsin award-winning cheddar cheese. Yes, that’s right, a 2,000-pound wheel of America Dairyland’s finest, freshest, tastiest cheese. You won’t want to miss the official cheese cutting taking place Saturday, November 4th at 3 pm. Wisconsin Cheesemaker Kert Henning, of Henning’s Wisconsin Cheese based in rural Kiel, Wisconsin, makers of the mammoth wheel, will be on hand for the celebration.
The big wheel of cheese is just one of many ways Churchill’s Markets are celebrating their 100th year in the grocery business. Brothers Jim and Joe Churchill opened the first Churchill’s in the Toledo area in 1917. One hundred years later, Walt Churchill Jr. carries on the families proud tradition of providing customers with an intimate specialty store that specializes in the finest local and regional produce and products, a wide variety of offerings and always exceptional customer service.
The “Big Cheese” tradition began in the 1950s in Northwest Ohio with the Tiedtke’s grocery store in downtown Toledo. After the Tiedtke’s store burnt down, Churchill’s picked up the business. The Andersons Markets, also in the Toledo and Maumee areas carried the big cheese wheels until they closed in 2016. Churchill’s was happy to keep the holiday tradition going with this year’s big wheel of cheese.
It’s no wonder Churchill’s teamed up with Henning’s Wisconsin Cheese when they chose to order a mammoth cheddar cheese wheel. Henning’s, like Churchill’s, is a family owned business with over 100 years of customer satisfaction. Now in its fourth generation of operation, Henning’s Wisconsin Cheese carries on their proud family tradition of making some of the finest, award-winning cheeses in the world.
“We’re small, but we can do big things,” says Kert Henning. While one of the smaller cheese factories in Wisconsin, Henning’s is the only cheesemaker in the U. S. that produces special order cheese wheels from 75-pounds, up to 12,000-pounds. If it’s a cheese wheel found in the U. S. 75-pounds or larger, Henning’s handcrafted it. Also like Churchill’s, Henning’s values the opportunity to use the freshest local ingredients available. Henning’s relies only on local dairy farmers within about a thirty-five-mile radius, to get their fresh, hormone-free milk daily.
Kert’s brother Kerry Henning is one of a small, elite group of Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers. Wisconsin is the only state to have the Master Cheesemaker apprenticeship program. The program requires participants to have held a Wisconsin cheesemaker license continuously for at least ten years and to acquire additional extensive and advanced education and training. The program takes almost three years to complete once admitted and a 40-hour exam upon completion. Participants are required to produce the cheese they want to master in for five of the ten years while holding a cheesemaker license. Kerry Henning is a Master of Cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack.
To meet Cheesemaker Kert Henning and to sample some of the finest cheddar cheese Wisconsin has to offer, stop by the Walt Churchill’s Market in Perrysburg, at 26625 N. Dixie Highway on Saturday, November 4th at 3 pm. After the cutting celebration, the big wheel will also be available at the Maumee/Briarfield store at 3320 Briarfield Boulevard.