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Celebrate National Cheese Ball Day

By Melissa Wiley in Food on Apr 17, 2012 4:00PM

2012_04_17_cheeseball.jpeg For those of us who have earned the moniker “cheese ball” more times than we can count, celebrating National Cheese Ball Day every April 17 is practically obligatory. No one knows exactly how this holiday originated, despite it being obvious to us that its genesis was nothing less than divinely inspired. That, or in the absence of snowballs, baseballs, and the like, cheese just seemed like the next best material for assuming America’s favorite shape.

As proof of just how essentially American the cheese ball really is, word on the Internet has it that on July 20, 1801, a man by the name of Elisha Brown Jr. presented a 1,235-pound cheese ball to President Thomas Jefferson. Presumably Jr. rolled the rennet across the White House lawn in the 19th-century version of Saran Wrap and thus kept the ants out of the executive hors d'oeuvre, but historians dropped the ball on this one, so we can only speculate as to its purity.

For those of us without an adoring public to shower us with such gifts, National Cheese Ball Day simply affords us an excuse to get handsy with our favorite locally-sourced dairy products. If you happen to have some crackers in the cupboard and feel like feasting on something spherical, here’s an easy recipe to try. Yes, it’s almost indecently simple. But when you buy quality, such as our Wisconsin goat and rennet duet, everything else is just icing (or nuts) on the cheese ball, after all. Most cheese ball recipes call for cream cheese, but as long as you stay within the creamy spectrum, your ball should be good, even gourmet, to go.

Because National Cheese Ball Day falls within the full flush of spring, we’ve lyrically titled our creation “Primavera.” Hey, the centerpiece of a holiday as glorious as this one deserves a good name.

Cheese Ball Primavera

16 oz of locally sourced cheese
½ cup of cranberries
½ cup of chopped walnuts
a few springs of rosemary, give or take

Soften cheese at room temperature and then blend in cranberries and rosemary. Mold cheese into glistening orb of desired roundness. Rotate cheese ball over chopped walnuts until fairly uniformly covered and chill for at least an hour in the fridge. Roll out the ball of dairylicious cheer for friends, family, neighbors, and possibly heads of state. Then cut the cheese and proceed to make similar cheese-centered jokes ad nauseum or until your coterie of fellow cheese lovers deserts the premises, blissfully sated.