Monday, April 13, 2009

Tasting Tour #2

We don't call this blog Cheese Country Realtors for nothing!

Green County is home to many dairy farms, and we make a great deal with the cow's milk produced here. Tasting Tour #2 will feature these dairy products.

Cheese is our most famous product, but we also are home to one of only three homestead, artisan yogurt companies in the state.

Begin your day in Monroe. The Historic Cheesemaking Center is located just off Hwy 69, and it is open from 9 am until 4 pm March through November. Learn about our dairy farming and cheesemking past, about how Green County came to have such a large concentration of cheese factories and master cheese makers.

From there, continue up Hwy 69 to Roth Kase for a self-guided tour of this active cheese factory. The large viewing windows make it easy to see what is happening in the factory, and be sure to pick up some samples in the attached retail space, Alp & Dell Cheese Store.

Grab some lunch at Baumgartner's on Monroe's Downtown Square. Baumgartner's is a famous cheese store and tavern has been on Monroe's Square since 1931. The menu features a variety of cheese sandwiches, hot sandwiches and cheese plates. Feeling adventurous? Go for the Limburger and Onion Sandwich! Wash it down with the local beverage of your choice.

From here, see where the cheese starts - at the farm. This one requires calling ahead for reservations, so plan accordingly. You can visit a Green County Dairy Farm, meet the cows and visit with the farmer. $5 per person. Contact Green County Tourism Office toll free 1.888.222.9111 or email

Venture over to Albany next to see another great local dairy product - yogurt! Sugar River Dairy is an incredible local product, one that we have written about before. Learn about it first hand by taking a tour. This one also requires a little planning, so call ahead at 608-938-1218 to make sure they are available for tours as they do their own deliveries to local stores on some weekdays. On your way out of our area (or while you are grocery shopping if you live local), be sure to stop by Brennan's Market to pick up some of this great local product.

Finish your day with a dinner at New Glarus Hotel or Turner Hall (Monroe) for a Cheese Fondue dinner. Have this Swiss classic of cheese, wine and other delicious flavors as your main meal, or both restaurants offer it as an appetizer so that you have room for the other delicious entrees available.

We hope you have enjoyed this second tasting tour. If you are making a weekend of it, combine this with Tasting Tour #1 to explore our great local culinary traditions more fully. If you are coming from out of town, we have some great local lodging options available for you.

Have fun eating your way through Green County!

I am writing these Tasting Tours myself; they are not from any visitors guide book or tourism site. These are just fun ways to spend a day or two here in the Green County area.

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