We love our beer and cheese, but getting an authentic taste of Wisconsin when you’re visiting means all that and more. Much, much more. Here’s how you can take a nibble of your trip home with you—or order online anytime.
BEA’S HO-MADE PRODUCTS, GILLS ROCK:
Near the top of Door County, one family has produced corn relish, hot pepper jelly, pickled asparagus and myriad other preserved veggies and fruits since 1961. It all began with great-grandma’s chopped cherry jam, still a hit today. Everything is made in small batches.
BECKY’S BLISSFUL BAKERY, NEW BERLIN:
Crazy for caramels? Then this is your jam. Brace yourself for fun variations of one sweet and creamy theme. Maple bacon caramels, salted gingerbread caramels, salted whiskey caramels, beer and pretzel caramels—get the picture? Some products are certified organic and use local, artisanal ingredients.
HALVORSON FISHERIES, CORNUCOPIA:
Commercial fisheries are rare in Wisconsin, but this forty-something business thankfully survives, situated at the tip of Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior. Catches of the day include whitefish, salmon and trout. Order it fresh, frozen or smoked, based on availability. Business hours vary as weather grows colder.
KICKAPOO GOLD, WESTBY:
This operation was born out of descendants of a farm family who began tapping maples in the late 1800s. Today they fill one-gallon jugs to sampler “nips” (50-milliliter gift bottles) with boiled-down, certified-organic sap from around 900 trees. Add a jar of maple cream, for spreading on toast, waffles or pancakes.
KOHLER ORIGINAL RECIPE CHOCOLATES, KOHLER:
No Wisconsin community is more aligned with excellence than Kohler, a kingpin for golf (Whistling Straits), lodging (The American Club), dining (The Immigrant Restaurant) and plumbing (Kohler Company). Now Herb Kohler is slowly building an empire of sweet jewels that began with Terrapins (pecan-chocolate-caramel turtles) in 2007.
LOUIE’S FINER MEATS, CUMBERLAND:
The longtime butcher shop in a town of 2,139 has earned at least 450 awards. The many sure winners include beef jerky, natural-casing wieners, smoked ham, ring bologna, brats and salamis. Louie’s Braunschweiger and Weisswurst (both have German origins) stay true to tradition and earned gold internationally.
O&H DANISH KRINGLE, RACINE:
Wisconsin’s official pastry is the kringle—the oval, buttery, flaky and fruit- or nut-filled Danish delight. When done right, the kringle takes three days to make because of all the dough rolling, folding and resting. O&H sells tons of it online and at its five bakery locations.
WISCONIAN DELECTABLES, KENOSHA:
Do good by eating well. Special-needs clients, under supervision, package and label an array of flavored snack chips made with crisp corn or wheat flour tortillas such as the sweet Apple of my Eye and sassy Wasabi Soy Ranch. Also for sale: Amish-made products, such as salsas and flavored butters.
RUBI REDS, WISCONSIN RAPIDS:
No state produces more cranberries than Wisconsin, and the berry is our biggest fruit crop. This family business sells the fruit dried, drenched in chocolate and in jams, trail mixes, balsamic vinegars, beef sticks, honey, kettle corn, salsa, cheese spread—you name it.
MAD URBAN BEES, MADISON:
One of the nation’s first commercial urban apiaries began with two hives; now the beekeeper manages about 100 from the yards and roofs of area residents. Buy honey gift packs and honey sticks with flavors ranging from buttery to floral, depending on where they were harvested.
This article originally appeared in the 2017 fall/winter issue of Experience Wisconsin magazine. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published; however, it’s possible some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations, attractions or restaurants mentioned in this article.
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