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Edible Antics

Touring Wisconsin Food

Tag: cheese curds

Wisconsin Plate


Grilled Brats

It turns out that we are not the only ones having fun with Wisconsin foods.  Taylor Hicks is hosting a new series this fall called State Plate.  The winner of season five on “American Idol” is traveling to states to find specific foods for which each state is known.  He has recently visited Wisconsin looking for classic Wisconsin foods that represent our heritage and our iconic food items.  On his tour he had great fun meeting our state’s producers of five of our delightful edibles.  He has specifically explored our:


Danish Kringle

  • Cheese curds
  • Sheboygan Bratwurst
  • German Sauerkraut
  • BooYah in Green Bay
  • Danish Kringle from Racine

As he travels around the states he plans to visit I am sure the Wisconsin treats will be his favorite.  We thank Taylor and the folks at State Plate for visiting our state and for presenting our special treats to their audience. Make sure to tune in this Friday at 8pm CT!

Wisconsin State Fair 2015

The Wisconsin State Fair for 2015 runs from Thursday August 6th through Sunday August 16th. 4C_WSF_stacked_datedThe fair features large varieties of food, traditional rides and games and judging of animals, food products, crafts and art.  Wisconsin’s artisan cheesemakers and meat producers products are carefully judged and awarded ribbons for their quality products.

The results of the Cheese contest have been released. Congratulations to all the winning cheesemakers at the 2015 Wisconsin State Fair competition. This year there were 372 entrees in 28 classes from 146 Wisconsin cheesemakers.   The top three cheeses in each category received awards.  cheese-grouping-WMMB-cheese-infoThe 2015 Grand Master Cheesemaker will be named and recognized along with the other winning cheesemakers at the Blue Ribbon Cheese and Butter Auction August 13 at the Wisconsin State Fair Park.  blue ribbonThe winning cheeses will be auctioned off with the proceeds used to support scholarships for students pursuing dairy related degrees and in support of other milk marketing efforts.

A number of the cheesemakers that have won awards in the annual Wisconsin State Fair competition for 2015 have their company’s cheeses available on  Many or these softer cheeses only ship in the cooler months, starting Oct. 1.

Winning cheesemakers that have cheeses seasonably available on are:

gary mug shot

Gary Grossen

Gary Grossen Master Cheesemaker at the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant on the University of Wisconsin –Madison campus won for his Brick cheese Class 05 Brick, Muenster – First Place.  Gary explains his cheese making process.  Babcock cheese is available seasonally on

Chad Duhal from Zimmerman Cheese in South Wayne, Wisconsin – Third Place Class 05 Brick, Muenster for his Muenster Cheese

Steve Stettler Master Cheesemaker from Decatur Dairy in Brodhead, Wisconsin took third place in Class 10 Flavored Pepper Cheese  for his Pepper Havarti cheese. He also took second Place in Class 20 Havarti (unflavored) for his Havarti cheese.  Decatur cheeses are available seasonally on


Marieke Penterman

Marieke Penterman from Holland’s Family Cheese in Thorp, Wisconsin took third place in Class 12 Flavored Semi-Soft cheese – for Marieke Burning Melange Gouda.  Marieke also won second place in Class 22 Open Class for Semi-Soft Cheese (unflavored) for the Marieke Golden cheese.  A selection of Marieke cheese gifts are available on

Wally Hartwig from Zimmerman Cheese in South Wayne, Wisconsin took first place Class 13 Smoked Cheese – for Smoked Brick. 

Other Wisconsin State Fair award winning cheesemaker partners of include Emmi Roth USA, Pine River Cheese and Carr Valley Cheese.

Wisconsin artisans produce a broad variety of cheeses that continue to be recognized by judges and customers for superior quality.  Congratulations to all the winning artisan cheesemakers!

10 Things You Have to Explain to Out-of-Staters About Wisconsin

Out-of-Staters don’t understand Wisconsin. They think we just eat cheese and shovel snow. It’s true, we do that, but there are also plenty of other awesome things to do in Wisconsin. Here are the top 10 things Wisconsinites have to explain to out-of-staters.

1. The name cheese curd sounds weird but trust us, you want to eat these. Especially if they’re deep fried.


Not in Wisconsin? We ship curds! Details here


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Great Appetizer Ideas – Wisconsin Style!

great-appetizer-ideas Wisconsin food is known for being on the heavier side, so lighten things up with these great appetizer ideas! Turn bratwurst, cheese, and other Wisconsin favorites in to one bite snacks. Whether you’re an experienced hostess on the look out for inspiration or you want to try having a cocktail party for the first time, these easy appetizers will make for a memorable evening. Even if you don’t live in or near Wisconsin, many Wisconsin foods can ship nationwide from

Bratwurst Bites- You have probably never thought of a bratwurst as a delicate hor d’ourve but then again, you’ve probably never seen a bratwurst bite (that’s them in the picture). This Wisconsin finger food consists of a small, thin, lightly toasted slice of bread topped with a slice of grilled bratwurst and a dollop of sauerkraut and mustard. You probably won’t see these served and Milwaukee Brewer games, but hopefully this easy appetizer will make an appearance at your next dinner party. You can get bratwursts at most grocery stores, or find authentic Wisconsin bratwurst online at

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Cheese Are A Few of Our Favorite Things: The Staff’s Favorite Cheeses

cheese-are-a-few-1“Do you get to eat tons of cheese at work?!”

This is one of the first questions I get about my job as food blogger
extrodinare at The answer
is YES! Between samples from aspiring aritsans, goodies leftover from TV
appearances and the surprise treats from our boss Linda, we get all the cheese
snacks we can handle.

If you thought resisting the office candy bowl was
hard, try working at a place that specializes in the best food in the
When Linda and Rick, the husband and wife team behind, got word that I wanted to write a blog post about the
staff’s favorite cheeses, they took it a step further and actually
brought in our favorite cheeses. Continue reading to see what our favorites are and why.


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Dad’s Must Eat Madison Foods


I’m not the only foodie in my family, and when Dad comes to visit, there are a few must eat Madison foods on the menu. Here are the top five Madison foods that Dad requests.

Nurnberger bratwurst from Bavaria Sausage Company – My Dad was stationed in Germany when he was in the Army, so we know what an authentic German brat should taste like, and this is it! Nurnberger bratwursts with mustard, on a hard roll,  washed down with a cold beer makes us feel like we’re back in Deustchland.

Ice cream at Babcock Hall Dairy Store – Dad and I both love food, but we have different tastes in ice cream. He preferes the classic vanilla, and I like the more flashy flavors like Mocha Macciato. We both left the Babcock Hall Dairy Store happy, even though I show it a little more than Dad does.

Fresh squeaky cheese curds- Fried or straight from the bag, fresh cheese curds are a Wisconsin treat Dad can’t miss. He even eats them for breakfast.

Sprecher root beer- Dad’s always been a big root beer fan, and Sprecher root beer is a Wisconsin treat he can’t find back home.

Bread Cheese- My mom tried bread cheese for the first time at the Madison farmer’s market and took some back for Dad to try. Now it’s become a family favorite. I bring some home whenever I go or send them a gift box from In fact, all of the treats mentioned in this post (including the bratwusrt and ice cream) are available at, so next time you get a craving, Madison food is only a click away.

5 Wisconsin Food Favorites You Can Make At Home

5-wisc-food-fav-make-at-home1. Beer Cheese Soup – Beer cheese soup is a Wisconsin food that combines three of Wisconsin’s favorite things: beer, cheese, and comfort on a cold day. Beer cheese soup is an easy way to bring a taste of Wisconsin to your home no matter where you live.

2. Creme Puff – Creme puffs are a favorite Wisconsin food at the Wisconsin State Fair, but you can make this delicious dairy treat at home with this recipe I found on Pinterest. See my Wisconsin Food board for more Wisconsin recipes.

3. Fried Cheese Curds – Many a displaced Wisconsinite misses fried cheese curds, but there is no need to despair since you can make your own fried cheese curds at home. ships cheese curds and even cheese curd batter mix nationwide.

4. Blue Moon Ice Cream – Blue Moon ice cream is a childhood favorite for many midwesterners. The ice cream has a pleasing blue color and a kid-friendly fruity flavor. You can make yours at home with this recipe or have some blue moon ice cream shipped to your door with the help of coolers and dry ice.

5. Cranberry Bars – The bakers at O & H Bakery in Racine, Wisconsin are considered the top Kringle experts. The process to make a Kringle involves rolling out layer after layer of thin pastry dough, and it takes years to master the process. Instead of attempting the baking feat of making your own Kringle, the O & H bakers recommend beginners try this cranberry bar recipe or having a freshly baked O & H Kringle shipped right to your door.

Top 4 Weird Wisconsin Foods

I’ve tried some weird Wisconsin foods since I moved to America’s Dairy Land. When I say weird, I mean weird to me since I’d never tried it before.  All of these foods are delicious, and only the rollmops require an adventurous spirit when trying for the first time.

Kransekager 1. Kransekager– Many Danish immigrants came to Wisconsin and started bakeries, making Wisconsin famous for Danish baked goods like flaky Kringle pastries.  Another even more extravagant Danish pastry that has caught on in Wisconsin is the Kransekager- a giant pastry made of rings of cake, stacked on top of each other.  This weird but wonderful cake is used to celebrate weddings and other happy times.

2. Wisconsin Cheese Curds– If you are from Wisconsin you are probably thinking “What is this blogger chick talking about? Cheese curds aren’t weird!”, but yes, my Badger friend, they are very weird to those of us who didn’t grow up munching on squeaky globs of cheese.  Visit my previous blog posts: What’s a Cheese Curd? and 5 Things to Do with a Cheese Curd to learn about this cheesy delight.

3. Chocolate Cheese– Move over cupcakes,food experts are reporting that the newest food trend is  chocolate and cheese together. But Wisconsin has been enjoying this odd combination for a few years now.  Master cheesemaker Sid Cook from Carr Valley Cheese won 1st Place at the 2004 and 2nd in 2006 American Cheese Society Competition for his Cocoa Cardona Goat Cheese, proving Wisconsin has some great food innovations.

Herring Rollmops 4. Rollmops– A roll mop is a piece of fish (herring) wrapped around a piece of cucumber, then the whole thing is put in a jar with vinegar and onions to pickle.  Scary I know.  Even as an adventurous eater the sight of them makes me hesitate a little, but as soon as I bite into one I’m glad I did because they are delicious!  Believe it or not, rollmops and our other pickled goodies (plain herring, polish sausages, eggs…) are some of the most popular items on  Just goes to show you what is weird to one person can be delicious to someone else!

I’m curious. Have you heard of these foods before? Tried any of them? What do you think? Any weird Wisconsin foods I missed?

5 Things to Do With A Cheese Curd

Cheese Curds

 Whether you grew up eating Wisconsin cheese curds or you just received your cheese curd education from my What is a Cheese Curd? blog post, you may still need some ideas for what to do with a cheese curd.  Curds are great straight from the bag, but why stop there?

 1. Zap ‘Em:  Here’s a trick my coworkers and I love to share- put some curds on a plate and zap them in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds.  This makes your curds soft, gooey, and extra squeaky!

2. Deep Fry ‘Em: You can’t talk about cheese curds without mentioning deep fried cheese curds! Outside of Wisconsin, you can usually find these as a novelty item at fairs and festivals where they fry everything.  In Wisconsin, fried cheese curds are a staple. We eat them as an appetizer, bar snack, and some fast food restaurants even let you replace your fries with fried cheese curds! Check out Edible Antic’s favorite fried cheese curd recipe here.

3. Put ‘Em in Poutine: As if cheese curds weren’t already decadant enough, try this Canadian dish.  Smother french fries in gravy, top with cheese curds, chow down! If you would like a more detailed recipe, click hereCooking Light Magazine even featured a recipe for a lighter version of Poutine in a recent issue, although I don’t think anything related to cheese curds is “light”.

4. Flavor ‘Em: This is an easy one since it’s already been done for you.  Cheese curds come in more flavors than just plain. Try them in Cajun, Garlic Dill, or (get this!) Pizza! Yum! If your local grocery store doesn’t carry cheese curds in fun flavors, order some online here.

5. Gift ‘Em: Whether you are in Wisconsin or not, you can send curds to your friends in the contiental United States.  Don’t forget to include some batter for frying! Your friends will love this delicious taste of Wisconsin no matter what state they live in.


Holiday Party Game: Find the Protein!

My husband’s family has the Christmas Eve tradition of hiding an almond in their rice pudding.  Whoever finds the almond is supposed to have good luck in the upcoming year.  I’ve heard of other families rummaging through their food foraging for a lone nut.  It’s kind of like the game ‘I Spy’, except with food.  I like this game, but I suggest it be taken a step further, and I have highly practical reasons to support this suggestion.  Before I describe my advanced version of ‘find the nut’, I’ll first convince you of why you should play it.

Let’s re-frame ‘find the almond’ as ‘find the protein’.   Almonds are an excellent source of protein.  Like fish, meat, cheese, and legumes, nuts are packed with life-supporting amino acids.  Cells in our bodies continually string amino acids together.  These strings then fold up into millions of unique shapes and thereby perform vital funtions. As a biologist who grocery shops, I can confirm that both the body and the grocer value protein more highly than sugar.  Consider how much more you pay for a pound of fish than a pound of sugar.

Sugars are carbohydrates.  Some are complex, as in fruits, veggies, and grains.  Others are simple, as in cupcakes, cookies, and soda pop.  The complex ones take the body longer to dismantle during digestion, but otherwise, a sugar is a sugar and our bodies convert it into energy.  When cells run low on sugar, they can convert protein into energy, but they can’t build muscles and brains out of sugar.

Unfortunately, kids typically like eating sugar more than protein, and if offered both simultaneously, will likely choose the sugar.  Yes, you can tell yourself that they have higher energy needs than adults.  But do you really want them exercising all that high energy on Christmas morning, especially on the Christmas morning that you spent the wee hours of assembling the 401-piece pirate ship and the ‘deluxe my little pony castle?  If they eat only sugar Christmas morning, they’ll be racing through the house, throwing random objects at each other, repeatedly uttering discordant, strange noises which they insist are songs, and asking you if you don’t think these songs are brilliant compositions.

But say you have anticipated this scenario, and immediately after giving them the sugar, you send them outside or into the care of a bachelor uncle or aunt.  Good try, but regrettably, their sky-rocketed blood-sugar levels will come back to bite you.  Within a half an hour they’ll be feeling the effects of the insulin now coursing through their blood telling their cells to absorb the blood’s excess sugar.  The cells respond, and inevitably blood-sugar levels temporarily crash.  Now, adults experience this crash as feelings of lethargy, sleepiness, and sometimes illness.  Kids, on the other hand, just get cranky — really cranky.  Your previously sugared-up darlings will run back to you crying that his or her sibling has maimed, cheated, or stolen something from him or her.  Hysterical wails of injustice will replace earlier peals of laughter.  Now, at this point, though it be only 10:30 am, many reasonable parents will start spiking the eggnog.

I have a pro-active remedy for this holiday headache. Here are three good reasons why you should fill your loved ones with a hearty, high-protein breakfast before you pass the sweets. 

  1. A stomach full of protein has less room for sugar.  Therefore, the kids will be too full to eat as much candy and coffeecake as they had hoped.
  2. Protein digestion takes more time than sugar digestion.  Thus, they’ll feel full longer and you won’t be back in the kitchen cooking so soon.
  3. Protein digestion slows down sugar digestion.  Therefore, the sugar will enter the blood stream more gradually.  The sugar buzz won’t be as high and the insulin crash won’t be as low.  Your darlings will be calmer and more even-keeled.

Convinced you should fill your kids up on protein, now you wonder how.  You’ll have to make eating protein amazingly fun!  Let a piece of protein be the grand prize to a ‘can’t-wait-to-play-again’ game!  Now I’ll describe the advanced version of ‘find the almond in the pudding’.  I know that some kids who find the almond don’t actually eat it.  But one almond is hardly a prize.  To motivate injestion, you’ll need an impressively large quantity of protein –say, a ham.

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