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Avanti History

The art of cheese making is a profession in our family that dates back to the 1800's. This tradition originated in a small country cheese factory in Switzerland and made its way to Walnut, Illinois.

Walnut Cheese was founded in 1932 as a market for the milk produced by surrounding dairy farmers. The company's philosophy has always been to provide high quality cheese to our customers. 

1933 Front of Walnut Cheese Co.
1933 Back of Walnut Cheese Co.

A growing demand for pizza cheese, prompted Walnut Cheese Company to start producing Mozzarella Cheese. The milk supply was rapidly increasing so the company completely remodeled their building in 1963. The building was enlarged and is now a modern brick. Inside, all stainless steel equipment was installed throughout the factory. 

In 1964, we formed Avanti Foods to produce frozen pizzas under the "Gino's" and "Swiss Party" labels. 

In the summer of 1977, we hired Stuart Gallagher, an architect from Madison, Wisconsin and the Kuhne Construction of Monroe, Wisconsin, to design an authentic Swiss Chalet with original interior decor. We needed something to bring our old facilities and new, together as one. On Labor Day, the massive construction started to increase the size of our cheese packing department, warehouse and cooler, office area and to provide the community with an up to date retail cheese store. 

As an added attraction, we have paintings done by a Swiss farmer painter and the decor includes original hammered brass cow bells, and a chandelier made especially for our Chalet by a firm in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Pictured above our Avanti Foods owners in 2005: Mark Linley, Robert Linley, Jeri Zueger and Tony Zueger Jr. as they stand on the balcony next to the fiberglass cow moved to the Walnut business from Switzerland. 

Over the years, we have grown into a multi-faceted business which includes the production of frozen pizzas and food service distribution. We distribute cheese, pizza ingredients, supplies and other food items to pizzerias, grocery stores and restaurants within the state of Illinois and surrounding states. 

Great prices, quality products and personalized services makes Avanti Foods a great place to work and a wonderful place to visit. 

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