Monday, September 8, 2008

Our Cheesy Weekend Adventure

In light of all the local eating we've been doing, we decided to take a road trip this weekend to one of our favorite local cheese factories, Beechwood Cheese Company.

Located in the rolling hills near the beautiful Kettle Moraine State Forest, Beechwood Cheese is a virtual "cheez-topia"! Manufacturing countless varieties of Cheddar, Colby, Muenster, Brick, Monterey Jack, Gouda and Edam, they distribute their cheeses throughout Wisconsin both through retail outlets and at area farmer's markets.

The factory itself has a history that dates back to the late 1800's, when two brothers began producing butter and cheese in a small Wisconsin town. They were the first Wisconsin cheesemakers to produce Monterey Jack cheese, and to test frozen cheese cultures. Of course, this old-fashioned cheese factory has come a long way since the 19th century! In 2006, they were featured on the Food Network's show, "Road Tasted," along with the Sprecher Brewery and the Racine Danish Kringle Company.

We were lucky enough to visit on one of their "Almost Famous Cheese Curd Days." This joyous occasion takes place on the first Saturday of every month -- and features a variety of cheese curds, fresh from the cheese vat!

Although we weren't able to get a tour of the factory (due to restrictions imposed after 9/11 to prevent contamination), they did let us take a peek at their production line.

We spied hundreds of fresh curds, as well as some of the employees, busy at work labeling the freshly made cheese.The retail shop connected to the factory was hopping with customers, eager to get a taste of the day's featured curds.
And you know we couldn't escape without buying a bit of Wisconsin's finest cheeses ourselves! Here's the bounty we ended up taking home.One of our favorites were the tomato basil cheddar curds, which we nearly consumed in their entirety on the drive home!
This month's featured curds were also pretty hard to resist. The shallot & black pepper cheddar curds were squeaky and shallotty, with a great black pepper bite!Of course, now that we've stocked up on all those delicious Wisconsin cheeses, you can imagine that our local menu this week is going to be smattered with a number of deliciously cheesy dishes!

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  1. What a great adventure! I'll drive anywhere for cheese! Awesome.

  2. How fun! Looks yum yum! We love fresh cheese curds in our fam! Just introduced them to a sis-in-law from NE - she had never had them before! We bought at our local Farmer's Market. Too fun! Love the squeek!

  3. Oops- that last post was from jo.

  4. My husband and I are crazy about cheese! I can't wait to see what the recipes you come up with from your bounty!

  5. That reminds me of going to the Tillamook cheese factory at the beach. You can sample the cheeses and get some fudge and ice cream while you watch the cheese being made. I don't know why it's so fascinating, but it is.


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