Dairy cows graze a pasture — Photo courtesy of iStock / steverts
Happy cows don’t just come from California anymore. America’s Dairyland a.k.a. Wisconsin, has been producing delicious, award-winning cheese for years and it’s time to get a piece of the wheel.
Wisconsin boasts many unique creameries that specialize in everything from cheese curds to aged gouda. Hop in the car and make your own cheesy road trip or just visit one shop to stock up on your cheese essentials; you won’t be disappointed.
Here are 10 of the best spots in Wisconsin to truly become a cheesehead!
Emmi Roth + Alp and Dell | Monroe
Get transported to Switzerland with a visit to the Emmi Roth cheese factory. Visitors are welcome to take a full factory tour of one of Wisconsin’s biggest cheese producers, and even take a peek at the cheesemaking process. Don’t forget to make a post-tour stop at Alp and Dell, Emmi Roth’s shop, which carries over 100 cheeses for you to take home.
Fromagination | Madison
Right in the heart of Madison lies the cutest little cheese shop around. Fromagination carries so many delicious artisan cheeses from Wisconsin and beyond, plus just about every accoutrement you could imagine.
This petite shop also offers specialty classes (curious about British Isles cheeses?) and pairing classes (beer and cheese, anyone?) for the real curd nerds out there. Fromagination is the perfect spot to shop for any foodies in your life.
Old Rittenhouse Inn | Bayfield
If you’re looking for a cheese-filled meal at a picturesque Victorian inn, the Old Rittenhouse Inn probably checks all your boxes and more. Their menu features artisan Wisconsin cheeses beautifully woven throughout for unique local flavors and delicious comfort food. See if you can get cheese in every course – we dare you.
Wisconsin Cheese Mart | Madison + Milwaukee
If you’re looking to stock up on some of the finest cheddars Wisconsin has to offer, this is where to go. The Wisconsin Cheese Mart boasts a wide selection of small batch and classic cheeses; you can even pick up a cow-shaped piece of cheddar as a parting gift.
Right next door at the Milwaukee location is the Uber Tap Room, where you’re invited to wash down your freshly selected cheese with a local brew.
Marieke Gouda | Thorp
Get a little piece of Holland right in the heart of Wisconsin with a visit to Marieke Gouda. A stop by their farm can be a family affair, with activities from soccer to bouncing pillows (not full of cheese, unfortunately), and of course, cheesemaking tours.
Make a pit stop at the Café Dutchess to try their grilled Gouda sandwich or Gouda nachos.
Clock Shadow Creamery | Milwaukee
Just making a short trip to the “grate” state of cheese and craving the squeakiest cheese curds you can find? Head over to Clock Shadow Creamery, a.k.a. Milwaukee’s first and only cheese factory. To get all your cheese curd questions answered, you can take a tour of the creamery and sample their fresh cheeses for just $3. Available every day but Sundays.
Carr Valley Cheese | Multiple Locations
To taste cheese made the old-fashioned way, head to Carr Valley Cheese. Cheesemaker Sid Cook and his family have been making cheese since the 1880s. Their award-winning cheeses range from classic bread cheese to the unique goat cheddar.
With over 8 locations throughout Wisconsin, you can get your cheese fill just about anywhere in the state.
Baumgartner’s Cheese | Monroe
Now, it’s time for a little cheese history. Baumgartner’s Cheese is the oldest cheese store in Wisconsin and they serve up the most delicious cheese sandwiches. Stop in for a thick slice of cheese (your choice!) on rye bread with housemade horseradish mustard.
All that’s missing is a local beer – and maybe even something harder – to wash it down.
Widmer’s Cheese Cellars | Theresa
Widmer’s specializes in brick cheese, cheddar and Colby – simple, but to the point. A visit to their retail store in Theresa, Wisconsin takes you back in time. Watch as cheesemakers stir the curds, making the magical, delicious cheese you’re about to sample.
Mars Cheese Castle | Kenosha
The Mars Cheese Castle got the memo: all cheese belongs in a castle. Stop in to try some of their famous cheese bread, or just peruse all of the royal cheeses. Their dramatic space, fit for kings and queens, features a bakery, deli and all the beer and wine you could ever need.