Before we start tasting cheese, Armando takes me to the source, as it were—driving me to one of the dairy farms that supplies milk to Park. Here, with obvious pride, he directs my gaze across a field at clusters of black-and-white Holsteins—poster-perfect cows. They get good water and alfalfa and lead a stress-free life, Armando tells me, and in return they give great milk. ''They are the best,'' he adds.
When we return to the factory, Armando takes me to the house where he and Lina live. Connected to the cheesemaking plant itself, the place is similarly immaculate inside, and furnished in a style that looks more like suburban Milan than rural Wisconsin. In a surprisingly formal dining room with a lace tablecloth and delicate Italian china, Lina serves us a cheese-filled lunch: homemade tortelli stuffed with squash and parmesan, simply dressed in butter and more parmesan; a green salad; and then some of Armando's aged provolone with ripe pears. This is his favorite way to eat provolone, Lina tells us. The pasta is delicious, the salad perfect, and the provolone...Well, it certainly isn't that bland, rubbery supermarket stuff. This has a ripe, creamy flavor with a subtle bite and a little pleasant ''grit'' to the texture. It is sublime, and by the time we finish lunch with little cups of authoritative espresso, I feel as contented as those Holsteins I'd seen earlier.