I do live in the dairy state afterall.
And boy was this summer all about cheese.
I was invited by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board to go on a dairy tour over a section of my fabulous state. The tour spanned two days and was chock full of amazing cheese, fabulous ice cream, delicious meals, and some wonderful stories.
My next few posts will be all about that trip; what I learned and what I tasted.
Our tour started at Clock Shadow Creamery and a visit to their rooftop garden. The building the creamery is housed in was designed to be as green as possible. The elevator generates electricity and a rainwater reuse system operates all of the bathrooms. Even the building materials were sourced from other older buildings in the area. Piles of extra bricks were converted into benches on the sidewalk once building was finished.
Despite the hustle and bustle of the streets below, the rooftop garden is incredibly quiet and serene. The garden space is open to the public and you can even take yoga classes up there! It was fun to wander around and appreciate the space. A perfect spot to view the skyline and kick off our tour.
The creamery is housed in the first level of the building and is surprisingly Milwaukee’s first cheese factory. The output of this space is quite impressive; 25,000-30,000 pounds of fresh cheese curds leave this building every week. If you’re not familiar, cheese curds could easily pass as the currency in Wisconsin. They are that well loved. Squeaker the curds, the fresher they are!
The brain child behind Clock Shadow is Bob Wills, who happens to be only one of 52 master cheesemakers in the world (a whopping 47 of them reside in Wisconsin!). The process to earn that title is daunting; 10 years in making cheese, 5 years in the cheese you are seeking certification in, completion of specific courses, a 3 year apprenticeship, and finally passing a written exam which, according to Bob, takes DAYS to complete. If you ever meet one of the 52, you’re in rare company and EAT THEIR CHEESE! They know what they are doing!
Next we move on to a cheese story involving a former rock n’ roll band member whose grandparents couldn’t even touch each other during their wedding ceremony and some nationally recognized ice cream! Curious? Stay tuned…
The tour was sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board however opinions are 100% my own.