As we wrote about the best restaurants in Madison, WI last month, one thing was evident: Wisconsinites love great food! That's long been the case in this state, and with such a deep agricultural tradition running through many of our communities, it's no surprise. For more food fun this spring, consider taking a fun Wisconsin cheese tour around the state. We promise you'll leave with a new appreciation for the most Wisconsin food there is!
If you know anything about the state of Wisconsin, it's probably in some way related to the dairy industry. Wisconsin's dairy industry is legendary, and cheesemaking has been a part of the state's heritage for nearly 200 years. More than 600 varieties and flavors of cheese are made in Wisconsin each year - far more than anywhere else. It's easy to see why, then, Wisconsin cheese tours are such popular tourist attractions!
If you want to get your hands on some of the best Wisconsin cheese around, we're here to help. Our collection of Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts can be found all over this fantastic state, offering the best and most unique accommodations around. Not only that, but you're likely to encounter some delicious and Wisconsin-fresh food in the morning, too. As you plan a Wisconsin cheese tour, make sure to include a stay at one or more of our Bed and Breakfasts in Wisconsin. Browse our lodging options today!
10 Wisconsin Cheese Tour Stops to Make in 2023
Though the number of Wisconsin dairy farms has declined in recent years, down 5% in 2021 alone, they are producing more milk than ever. This is partly because the remaining farms have gotten bigger, and technology has gotten better, which means more product is getting to market. Wisconsin's dairy industry still remains a vital component of the state's agricultural story, and 90% of the milk made here gets turned into cheese!
You can taste a bit of this delicious history when you take a Wisconsin cheese tour. Taking a Wisconsin cheese tour doesn't have to be a fancy affair - it can be as simple as visiting local farmers' markets and restaurants where locally-made cheese will surely shine. Or, you can visit local producers around the state, tasting the delicious variety of cheeses made there.
Taking a Wisconsin cheese tour is a lot like taking a wine tour in Napa Valley, the Finger Lakes, Oregon's Willamette Valley, or one of the other leading wine-growing regions in our country. You don't have to work too hard to enjoy great wine there, while here, you get some yummy bites of award-winning cheese.
If you're interested in a Wisconsin cheese tour, most of your time will be spent in the southern portion of the state, in popular destinations like Madison, Prairie du Sac, Spring Green, Milwaukee, and Cedarburg. There are even a few up as far north as Appleton. To help you hit some of the highlights, we've put together our own Wisconsin cheese tour itinerary, which also happens to pass through areas where you'll find a top-rated Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast.
- Head to the town of Plymouth, which just so happens to be the cheese capital of the world. The first stop on your Wisconsin cheese tour should be the Dairy Heritage Center, where you can taste many cheesy treats.
- After that, don't miss a stop at Gibbsville Cheese's factory store. Their fresh cheese curds are delicious.
- If you're a gouda fan, you've probably heard of Marieke Gouda, located in Thorpe and near Chippewa Falls in Wisconsin. This company makes hand-crafted traditional Dutch Gouda that is simply delicious.
- If you want to visit a working dairy that produces exceptional cheese, head to LaGrander's Hillside Dairy near Chippewa Falls. They have several award-winning kinds of cheese, including Colby, Colby-jack, pepper jack, and cheddar - and this is another place to pick up some deliciously fresh cheese curds.
- Another ca n't-miss stop on your Wisconsin cheese tour is Carr Valley Cheese, an institution in Wisconsin for more than 100 years. You can watch them make their cheese through a viewing window or call in advance to arrange a tour. They also offer Carr Valley Cheese Cooking School classes at their Sauk City Store location.
- The Cedar Grove Cheese store and factory in Plain is another great stop on your Wisconsin Cheese Tour. In addition to cheese, this is a great place to see innovations in the dairy industry with its wash-water treatment facility.
- Another "must" on your list is the famed Arena Cheese near Spring Green. You can taste a variety of cheeses here, but definitely don't miss their Colby-jack cheese - this is where it all started!
- If you want a stop with many options on your Wisconsin cheese tour, then the Pine River Dairy near Manitowoc is for you. There are more than 250 varieties on hand here, not to mention some fantastic ice cream!
- If you're in the Appleton area, head to the Union Star Cheese Factory in Fremont. This family-run operation is well known for its natural cheeses, many of which you can buy at its store.
- If you're looking for a delicious taste of the old world, don't miss Pasture Pride Cheese in Cashton. The milk used to make the cheeses here comes from Amish farms, meaning the milk is hand-gathered and never mechanically pumped.
Other great stops cheese lovers may want to make on their Wisconsin cheese tour include the following: Fromagination, Brunkow Cheese, Montchevre, Emmi Roth Käse, Widmer's Cheese Cellars, Beechwood Cheese Factory, Simon's Specialty Cheese, and the National Historic Cheesemaking Center in Monroe.
Find the Perfect Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast
As fun as this self-guided Wisconsin cheese tour professes to be, it can't be completed in a single day. It can, however, be accomplished in a few days, with stops at local Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts. And what could be better than staying in accommodations that reflect the same unique flavors of Wisconsin you've been seeking along the way?
The members within our collection of Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts proudly offer the most unique and welcoming accommodations across the state - but many of them do far more than that! Many of our members are also Wisconsin food lovers, so you'll often be treated to a delicious multi-course breakfast each morning of your stay. Odds are you'll even encounter some of these famous Wisconsin cheeses along the way!
Though each member in our association certainly boasts their own unique character and charm, you can expect to find the same delightful hospitality and comfortable accommodations at each of these Bed and Breakfasts in Wisconsin. When you're ready to enjoy some delicious savory bites on your Wisconsin cheese tour, make sure to include a stay at one of our unique and welcoming Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts. Find an Inn today!