We’d fully intended to keep updating you daily on our tour progress, but we chucked that out the window somewhere around day 3.
Here, as a recap, are some of Becca’s wonderful photos, which help tell the story of our Wisconsin (and Chicago) tour for The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin.
At left is Larry of Larry’s Market in Brown Deer, near Milwaukee. Larry Ehlers and his family (including son Steve and daughter Patty) run one of the finest cheese shops it’s been our pleasure to set foot in. Madison’s Fromagination is (and will remain) our hometown gold standard, but the overall quality, Wisconsin friendliness, and depth of selection at Larry’s is absolutely on par. (See also: Nala’s, below.) At right is Master Cheesemaker Kerry Henning of Henning’s Wisconsin Cheese, who loaned his enthusiasm and vast cheese knowledge to a very convivial and productive book signing at Larry’s. It’s always a good sign when you’ve got to get the last books out of your car trunk because the shop itself has sold out…
I hope this collage gives you a sense of how much fun it’s been for us to tour cheese country. From upper left, clockwise: the authors, at Larry’s Market; our friends Laura and John digging into a massive plate of excellent mac and cheese and chili at Comet Cafe in Milwaukee; gourmet preserves purveyors Matt and Clare Stoner Fehsenfeld of Madison’s Quince and Apple at Larry’s Market; a small wedge of the selection at Larry’s; and the storefront at Marion Street Cheese Market in Chicago. Chicagoans apparently don’t connect with the book as viscerally as Wisconsinites do, but they love Wisconsin cheese — we sampled a ton of it (Raspberry Bellavitano by Sartori, Widmer’s cheddar, and Edelweiss Emmentaler among others) and sold pounds and pounds of it for the shop.
Master Cheesemaker Myron Olson (maker of amazing Baby Swiss and the only remaining maker of Limburger in the Americas, among other things) joined us at Brennan’s in Monroe. Olson’s Chalet Cheese Co-op is a remarkable operation — a marriage of old-school hand-made cheese and modern marketing and distribution. Olson is pictured here with our book research map and a piece of his award-winning Deppeler’s full cream Swiss cheese.
Nala’s Fromagerie in Green Bay was another wonderful discovery for us — like Larry’s and Fromagination, it’s a place where the knowledge and enthusiasm of the owners is apparent the second you glance at the cheese menu, which teems with insightful and intriguing offerings from around the world (and all over the state of Wisconsin).
At left are co-owners Alan Trick and Linda La Cluyse, who were gracious hosts, and plied us with tidbits of information (plus goudas and pancetta and farmstead cheeses…) We tried a goat-milk and potato Gouda called Dorothea that tasted like nothing we’d ever had before — imagine potatoes with sour cream and chives in cheese form. Wonderful! And despite our already overflowing cooler, we had to bring some along with us…
At center is Master Cheesemaker Roger Krohn (of Trega / Agropur), who took a break from smoking a salmon to stop over and say hello. Meeting cheesemakers like Roger was the best part of doing the book, and it’s been one of our favorite parts of the tour, too. At right is master beekeeper Doug Schulz (OK, we’ll concede that “master beekeeper” is not a formal designation, but Doug’s hand-crafted honey deserves special attention). He and his daughter Taylor stopped by to talk cheese and honey. We’ve been sharing his Wisconsin Natural Acres honey on the road — it pairs brilliantly with strong cheeses like blues.
Well, that’s the news for now. We’ll be in Mt. Horeb on Friday (10-noon at Dee’s Cheese and More), and at both Madison Brennan’s (from 2-4pm on Watts Road and 5-7pm on University Ave.) — Master Cheesemaker Steve Stettler of Decatur Dairy will join us for one or both events. Sunday at 4:30pm, we’ll be at Magers and Quinn in Minneapolis with food writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, whose own book (Drink This: Wine Made Simple) is a terrific gateway to the world of wine. France 44 will be providing cheese. After that, we take a break until Dec. 11 and 12 — we’ll be all over the Milwaukee area at that point. Check out our Tour Schedule for more details.
And to everyone who came out and visited, tried some cheese, and/or bought a book — thank you so much!