Wisconsin’s summer picnic

Summer in Wisconsin provides beautiful days that are just about perfect.  Temperatures in the 70’s, blue skies, light breeze – perfect for an outdoor picnic.

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Wisconsin Capitol building in Spring

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Evening sunset reflected on one wing of the Wisconsin State Capitol during a Concert on the Square

Many cities in Wisconsin host summer evening outings that involve music, food and a general picnic atmosphere.  Madison residents have organized a “group picnic” called Concerts on the Square.  The Square in this reference is the Capitol Square, a block in downtown Madison centered by the beautiful Wisconsin State Capitol building.  Thanks to many generous sponsors and individual voluntary contributions for six Wednesday evenings each summer the  Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra plays a free concert on the steps at one corner of the building while thousands of folks sit on blankets and folding chairs, enjoy the music and a picnic.  There are food and beverage vendors to provide a selection of local picnic fare, or many bring their own picnic baskets.  Upwards of 25, 000 people show up for this community picnic each week.

Each concert has a “theme” and usually a guest performer joins the orchestra.  A recent presentation featured songs from the rock group The Eagles performed by members of Jeans ‘n Classics, a Canadian group that melds popular music with orchestras.  They also did a nice version of Bolero on July 15, 2015.

If you are near Madison in the summer don’t miss the Wisconsin made picnic Concerts on the Square.

Authentic Brats

Are your Bratwurst “Authentic”?

It’s grilling season here in Wisconsin.  All summer long and well into the fall football tailgating season we grill things.  Steaks, fish, vegi’s, pizza and of course the sausages known as bratwurst.  But is there only one “authentic” bratwurst?  The debate rages on here in Wisconsin.  Smoked, precooked or fresh?  Boiled in beer before you grill them or put them right on the grill?  But those of us who do not sweat the small stuff enjoy a grand variety of brats.  The texture of the meat varies from a course grind to a finer version similar to that found in hot dogs.  The flavors vary from mild to spicy.  The meats included have various combinations of pork, beef, veal and chicken.  Then some meat artisans add cheeses, mushrooms, apple, cherries or other complimentary items.

Wisconsin hosts a large German Fest in Milwaukee this coming weekend July 24 through July 26 where there will be tons of brats consumed.  This is their 35 year of celebrating all things German – food (brats!), history, music, traditions and more.

The city of Sheboygan, Wisconsin claims to be the center of the bratwurst world and many meat artisans make a version of brats they call “Sheboygan brats.”  But there are many additional varieties available.  See the broad selection of brats offered on Wisconsinmade.com

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Nurnberger bratwurstSee

The Nurnburger brat has a narrow diameter (about like your little finger) slightly longer version made famous in Nurenburg, Germany.

 

 

 

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Bacon cheddar bratwurst

 

The bacon cheddar brat adds two of Wisconsin’s favorites to the sausage

 

 

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University of Wisconsin Union Terrace brat

The University of Wisconsin Union Terrace brats are the ones served on the lakeside terrace on the Madison campus.

 

 

 

 

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Sausage sampler pack

If you are adventurous and would like to try a few versions the sampler packs give the chance to experiment with a variety of tastes.

All of these delicious brats and more are available on Wisconsinmade.com.

What’s your favorite variety of brat?

6 Wisconsin Ethnic Bakeries

Wisconsin’s European settlers came from a number of countries that were homes to delicious baking traditions.  As a result Wisconsin is blessed with surviving ethnic bakeries that carry on this tradition.  As you travel around Wisconsin stop and visit some of these.  I think six of the best are:

  1. Swiss traditional breads, cookies and Holiday Stollen shine at the New Glarus
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    New Glarus Bakery owner Angie with fresh bread

    Bakery in New Glarus Wisconsin. Busy favorite of locals and visitors alike,  Visit if you are nearby.

  2. Norwegian specialties like rosettes, krumkake, sandbakkel and berlina kranser are featured at the Fosdal Home Bakery in Stoughton, Wisconsin.
  3. German favorites like Black Forest Tort, dense breads, desserts and chocolate truffles are the core of a broad selection at Clasen’s European Bakery in Middleton, Wisconsin.
  4. Danish pastries and cakes are the favorites at O&H Danish Bakery in Racine, Wisconsin. Kringle has long been a Danish favorite and is also now a Wisconsin favorite.

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    O&H Pecan Kringle

  5. Czech pastries can be found at Tom’s Pastry Shoppe in Kewaunee, Wisconsin. You can find kolache’s and buhuite here along with other old-world goodies.
  6. Swedish items are the stock in trade at
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    Gnandma’s Swedish Bakery at Rowley’s Bay Resort

    Grandma’s Swedish Bakery located at the Rowley’s Bay Resort near Ellison Bay, Wisconsin. Open mid-May to mid-October their Swedish Limpa bread, cardamom coffee cake, Swedish Rye and their famous pecan rolls are all customer favorites.

If you can’t visit them some selections from the New Glarus Bakery and O&H Danish Bakery are available on Wisconsinmade.com.

Wisconsinmade.com bakery link

What are your favorite ethnic pastries?

Summer treats in Wisconsin

Summer in Wisconsin! 

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Student Union Lakeside Brat Stand Photo by Rick Remeschatis

The University of Wisconsin Madison campus is in bloom, seniors have graduated and the brats are back on the student union lakeside terrace!  The outdoor grill is fired up and the students and alumni favorites are cooking.  Cold beer and ice cream too.

Student Union brats on Wisconsinmade.com

 

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Babcock Hall Dairy store Photo by Rick Remeschatis

 

The ice cream comes from the Babcock Hall Dairy operation and is made right there on campus by the agriculture education team.

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Babcock ice cream Photo by Linda Remeschatis

 

 

 

 

Babcock Ice Cream on Wisconsinmade.com

Looking out over the sail boats on Lake Mendota on a sunny afternoon is relaxing.  One of the nicer opportunities in Madison.   If you can’t get there yourself, you can still get the same brats that are served there and the ice cream too, both available for delivery to your door via the links above.

Grilling brats photo by Rick Remeschatis

Or perhaps you would like to fire up your grill and try a wider variety of our Wisconsinmade bratwurst.  A broad selection of brats and sauces are available at:

Bratwurst selection from Wisconsinmade.com

What are your favorite Wisconsin summer food treats?

6 Wisconsin Vacation Dining Treasures

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Door County Lake Michigan Sunrise – photo by Linda Remeschatis

Welcome to Wisconsin.  Here in Wisconsin we work our way through January and February in order to receive our reward – summer!  Wisconsin is among the best places on earth to enjoy June through October. During these months we host an influx of a horde of tourists that agree.  But the benefit is that we all (visitors and natives) support a vast number of food emporiums that treat us to their exceptional delights.  All over the fine state of Wisconsin there are hosts waiting to treat you to their finest food.  Some are oriented towards couples and quiet dinners (these used to be called supper clubs) and others are focused on families with children or those looking for value priced meals.  All of them welcome you with Wisconsin hospitality.

The vacation regions of the state include a number of destination cities or counties.  The “thumb like” peninsula that sticks out to your right as you look at a map of Wisconsin is Door County.  It is one of the favorite vacation destinations for many reasons.  Hotels, restaurants, parks, activities, lots of fun and adventure.  For foodies what are the destinations to consider in Door County?  Well, some are for adults and some reflect a more family (with kids) oriented atmosphere.  There are 184 dining establishments in Door County.  Do you have a favorites list?  Here are some of our adult oriented recommendations:

Adult dining venues in Door County:

Donny’s Glidden Lodge – on the Lake Michigan side, great view, great food, you’ll both love it!  Donnysgliddenlodge.com

Alexander’s – near Ephraim, great food with a long fine food tradition in Door County  Alexandersofdoorcounty.com

Wickman house – restored elegant farm house reopened and still a delight in Ellison Bay  Wisckmanhouse.com

Harbor Fish Market and Grill – always good food and service on the water in Baileys Harbor harborfishmarker-gille.com

Whistling Swan – B&B dining with class.  Reservations suggested. Whistlingswan.com

White Gull Inn – in Fish Creek, always a family favorite. Whitegullinn.com

As you tour beautiful Door County be sure to visit the state and county parks for unusual geology and seasonal vegetation variations.

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Seaquist Orchards Market photo by Rick Remeschatis

For foodies there are numerous farm markets, bakeries, cheese shops and road side stops to explore.  The county is renowned for its production of Montmorency tart cherries used in baking.  Seaquist Orchards just south of Ellison Bay has a delightful visitor’s center and shop that offers their cherries and many other Wisconsin goodies.

In conclusion, it is pretty easy to find a good meal in Door County in summer.   Come join us for an “edible antics food friendly” visit here in Wisconsin.  Or if you cannot visit Wisconsin you can explore many of our artisan’s treats at Wisconsinmade.com that are available for shipping for your personal enjoyment.

Wisconsin’s Agriculture Production Ranking

How does the “Dairy State” farmer’s production rank?

Idaho has its potatoes.  Florida has its oranges.  Texas is known for its cotton production.  How does Wisconsin’s dairy production rank verses these well know other states production?  Which state do you think produces the most farm income from their lead agricultural product?Pride logo

It’s not even close! 

According to the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture:

Wisconsin produced $ 5 billion worth of milk

Texas produced $ 2.2 billion of cotton

Florida growers produced $ 1.4 billion of oranges

Idaho produced $ 964 million in potatoes.

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2014 World Champion Cheese Contestants

In addition Wisconsin farmers produced $ 2.2 billion of corn, $ 902 million of soybeans and $ 251 million of potatoes.  Hard working Wisconsin farmers help to feed America and the world..

Father’s Day Desserts

Every year my dad tells me, “Don’t get me anything for Father’s Day — I already have enough stuff”. But of course, I can’t really do that. So I always send a gift that is consumable. That way he has no reason to complain!

My dad has quite the sweet tooth, so my gift is usually a dessert of some kind. Here are a few great dessert gifts that can ship across the country!

Suzy's Four Flavor Cheesecake SamplerSuzy’s Four Flavor Cheesecake Sampler offers you a delicious dilemma–choosing which of these Wisconsin Cheesecakes is your favorite! With Suzy’s Four-Flavor Cheesecake Sampler, you can enjoy three perfect slices each of New York Style Cheesecake, Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake, Black Forest Cherry Cheesecake and Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cheesecake. Order one 8 inch Cheesecake Sampler and enjoy four fantastic cheesecake flavors! This delicious Wisconsin cheesecake ships in crush-proof packaging.

Chocolate EclairsThese Chocolate Eclairs by O & H Danish Bakery are a delightful treat. Enjoy eight huge Chocolate Eclairs that are freshly baked, crispy light pastry shells packed full of cool butter-sweetened custard cream and covered with a thick layer of smooth chocolate fudge. Thaw and serve these amazing chocolate eclairs for a delicious treat you won’t soon forget. Each order of Chocolate Eclairs is shipped frozen in a special container to ensure safe delivery.

Babcock Hall Ice CreamUniversity of Wisconsin Babcock Dairy Ice Cream has been made for over 90 years on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Why not try a few of the most popular flavors and see why Babcock Ice Cream has frequently been voted Best of Madison by Madison Magazine. You can now have delivered to your door fond memories of the Union Terrace and your favorite Babcock Ice Cream. Select 4 flavors of Babcock Hall Ice Cream to be included in your variety pack: Blue Moon, Butter Pecan, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies and Cream, Mint Chocolate Cookie, Mocha Macchiato, Orange Custard Chocolate Chip, Strawberry, Union Utopia, and Vanilla.

Father’s Day Gifts

Fathers everywhere get their special day on June 21st.  This year Father’s Day falls on Sunday and is also the first day of summer.  All rolled into one!  It’s a day off, the longest day of the year and special treatment on Father’s Day.  Wow, the stars must be in alignment.  Is there anything special you do with your dad?  Or a special treat you get for him?  Wisconsinmade.com features many suggestions for that special dad:

Meats range fWisconsin badger packer brewer t shirtrom brats and bacon to buffalo and venison sausages.  Apparel includes the Brewers to the Packers and University of Wisconsin, too.  Choose from travel books, fishing books and all kinds of “dad worthy” items.

Happy Birthday Wisconsin!

Happy Birthday Wisconsin – the state. Wisconsin joined the United States 167 years ago on May 29th 1848 as the 30th state of the union. Known as the Badger state the robin is the state bird, White tailed Deer is the state Wild animal the Muskellunge is the state fish and the wood violet is the state flower.

Wisconsin was settled by immigrants from many parts of the World. Polish, German, Norwegian, Swiss, Danish joined the Native Americans who were already here.

The state is known for Wisconsin’s extraordinary people, who demonstrate innovation, spirit of service and work ethic. They are passionate about their trade and take pride in the quality products they produce. So Happy 167th Wisconsin! And you can see some of their work at www.Wisconsinmade.com the web site that features products made with passion and pride by the artisans of Wisconsin.
The state flag looks like this:

Brat Fest: Memorial Day Weekend

Brat FestAs we all remember and honor our fallen service members this weekend we thank them all for their service to our country. Brat Fest is an annual Memorial Day festival in Madison, Wisconsin where we celebrate the mighty bratwurst. It is a giant gathering of folks to listen to music, drink some beverages, eat some brats and raise funds for over one hundred local charities. It has grown over the last 30 years and now is three days long. Over 3,200 volunteers help at the grills, serve food, keep things clean and safe. They each earn $8 per hour, which is donated back to their charity of choice and the end of the event. Over the years more than $1.5 million has been raised. If you can’t be there in person a broad selection of Wisconsin brats are available at Wisconsinmade.com.

Apple Bratwurst

Apple Bratwurst

Sheboygan Brats

Sheboygan Brats

Bacon Cheddar Bratwurst

Bacon Cheddar Bratwurst

Mushroom Swiss Cheese Brats

Mushroom Swiss Cheese Brats

International Bratwurst Sampler

International Bratwurst Sampler

Apple Bratwurst

Apple Bratwurst

University of Wisconsin Union Bratwurst

University of Wisconsin Union Bratwurst

Packer Bratwurst

Packer Bratwurst