Sweet Dreams are Made of…Cheese in Wisconsin!
When you hear the word “cheese”, what place comes to mind? Yeah, my first thought was France, too (remember Meg Ryan’s comment in French Kiss: “Did you know that there are four hundred and fifty-two official government cheeses in this country?”). Well, stateside, it’s Wisconsin, “America’s Dairyland”. You’ve heard the moniker, “cheeseheads”, right? That’s the nickname of Wisconsinites, as well Green Bay Packers fans (here we go with football again).
One more tidbit: the unofficial nickname is “The Badger State.” Amazingly, it has nothing to do with badgers. The nickname began in the 1800s. During their search for lead ore (galena), miners dug hillside tunnels and sometimes lived in them, which reminded people of the burrowing badger.
Wisconsin is also famous for its beer, particularly and historically in Milwaukee (Schlitz: the beer that made Milwaukee famous). So, when in cheese and beer country, what better recipe than beer cheese soup? Then, pair it with your favorite beer, ‘cause when in Wisconsin….
Ingredients for 5 | Multiply by degree of hunger, divide by number of girlfriends!
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves peeled garlic, mince
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (here is a gluten-free option)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 16 ounces beer
- 1 tablespoon Dijon or stone-ground mustard
- 10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the carrot, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 10 minutes.
Add the flour and stir well. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes until the flour turns brown.
Combine the milk and half-and-half. Slowly pour into flour mixture, whisking constantly until combined.
Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the beer and mustard.
Bring to a boil, whisking frequently until foam subsides.
Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes until thick.
Remove from heat and whisk in the cheese a handful at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with your favorite beer—Milwaukee or other.
Looking for a dinner place to gather with girlfriends? Here are a couple of great options when planning your next girlfriend gathering:
- Graze | Graze is an American-style gastropub by Chef Tory Miller, focused on creating comfort food that utilizes and celebrates the region's incredible farms and producers. Located on Madison's Capitol Square (the streets surrounding the state capitol building which is home to many restaurants and shops), the views are inviting as we peruse the eclectic offerings. As is the tradition with a pub or tavern, Graze is seen as a gathering place in the community—a place that’s not work and not home, a place that is comfortable. My Girlfriendships® fits perfectly with their love of friends gathering over food and drink to spend some time together.
One of my favorite gathering-to-do’s is sharing a charcuterie board with my girlfriends. Graze’s includes three meat selections, epi bread, pickles, house butter, gribiche, and mustard. Girlfriends, charcuterie board, and a nice house red sounds perfect for My Girlfriendships crew doesn’t it?!
- Norwood Pines | Norwood Pines in Minocqua delivers the relaxed elegance of one of Northern Wisconsin’s oldest and finest supper clubs. Surrounded by stately red pines, you’ll be treated to views of Patricia Lake as well as white tail deer who frequently stop by for a little dinner of their own. Depending on the season, you may enjoy dining on the screened-in porch or a cozy seat next to the fireplace. Personally, I would lobby my girlfriends to take a spot by the fireplace.
Norwood Pines offers an exceptional menu with items sure to please all tastes. Try their filet portabella, fabulous bbq ribs, or the finest in seafood including seared ahi tuna. Whichever you choose, you may want to pair it with a glass of wine from their extensive list. Norwood Pines accepts reservations for groups of any size—that’s what we’re looking for on our next My Girlfriendships trip!
A nice dinner of fettuccine alfredo topped with sautéed chicken, accompanied by a Pinot Grigio with my girlfriend crew in front of the fireplace sounds perfect for an evening in Minocqua.