Kitchn Love Letters

This Cheese Has Been a Permanent Fixture at My Family Gatherings for Nearly a Decade

published Jan 25, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

I never knew just how good a gigantic cheese ball could be until I was introduced to one from a fourth-generation artisan cheese factory. When I say cheese ball, I’m not talking about the cream cheese-mixed orbs that are covered in nuts (although those are delicious) — I mean an actual ball of cheese, straight-up. It’s so good, I like to joke that I married my husband just because he introduced me to it.

At the time, my now mother-in-law was still working; before she retired, her workplace would sell cheese from the Wisconsin-based, family-owned company. She would buy some, and when my husband and I first started dating he would bring it with him when we spent New Year’s with my family.

For nine years and counting, we’ve been devoted fans. We eat it during the holidays — it’s especially good with crackers and summer sausage, which the company also sells! My husband and I break some out for grazing on the weekends and especially during Super Bowl Sunday. It’s become a family tradition, and at this point I could say it’s part of our family. What is it? A Gouda. But not just any Gouda! It’s Gouda from Scray Cheese Co. Come with me to take a deeper look!

Credit: Kate Oczypok

The Best Ball of Gouda Comes from the Scray Cheese Company

This Gouda is semisoft, nutty and buttery, and only gets better the longer it’s in the refrigerator. (You can buy it in a big ball like we do and save money per ounce, or in wedges by the pound.) The flavor is mild and creamy and even more perfect with some crunchy crackers or spicy pepperoni. After reading more about the company, it makes sense as to why their Gouda is so delicious — they’ve been perfecting it for nearly 100 years! 

Buy: Scray Cheese Co. Gouda / Edam, $9.00 for 1 pound at Scray

Note: Scray is required to label the cheese either “Gouda” or “Edam,” depending on where it’s being shipped.

It all began in 1849 when the Scray family found their way to the Midwest. Two generations later, in 1924, Edward Scray bought a cheese factory that specialized in Gouda, cheddar, and butter. Over the years, Scray taught his son Edgar everything he knew, and by the time Edgar’s ownership ended, theirs was one of just two cheese factories left in the county (originally there were hundreds). Edgar’s son James took over the factory in 1982 and shares the same knowledge with his children, Ryan and Kayla, who are now poised to take over the business, continuing the family tradition. 

In 2009, the family opened Scray Cheese Shoppe, which is connected to the factory so customers can see the cheese being made. Today, the company carries more than 100 different types of cheese, all Wisconsin made, including its own handcrafted Fontina cheese (which it started making in 2012). We’ve sampled many of their cheeses over the years, and will continue to add them to our weekend spreads and holiday tables — next to our beloved Gouda, that is.

Do you have a favorite cheesemaker? Tell us in the comments!