With about 15% of Americans vaccinated, and my first shot under my belt (actually, shirt sleeve – thanks asthma!) I was finally willing to take a short airplane trip. N95 masks at the ready, I went to Door County, Wisconsin.
This extremely cold midwestern resort area has loads of winter activities – and places to fuel up. Abundant cheese in all sorts of melty varieties, fill the soul.
Renards Cheese, in Sturgeon Bay, has many cheddars, along with jams, fudge and cheese curds. There is also a “Melt Shoppe” with sandwiches, soups and salads.
Melted Cheese for All Ages
Renards puts its cheese to good use in its ‘artisan melts.’ I was torn between the honey truffle, with cheddar, Parmesan and Provolone, along with honey and truffle oil, and the Spinach & Artichoke, with provolone, spinach, artichokes, peppers and garlic aioli. I went with the latter, figuring it had a little bit of healthy vegetables. It was messy and utterly delicious.
The last time I was in Wisconsin, I tried to sample a Spotted Cow beer. Alas, the ale was out of stock everywhere. But I found it this time. Spotted Cow goes particularly well with cheddar cheese.
Friday night fish boils are as much theater as dinner. We went to the White Gull Inn, which offers these traditional whitefish meals. Potatoes cook in a cauldron over an outdoor wood fire, which in pandemic times means you can hang out in 30 degree weather outside. About 20 minutes before dinner time, fish is thrown in the pot.
Then the drama happens. As the fire tender announces, fish oils and ash collect on the surface, so he throws kerosene in the fire to burn this off. The result is clear liquid and perfectly cooked local whitefish, served with those potatoes, coleslaw and homemade bread.
I had a salad. It was quite delicious and filling.
We also had the traditional fish boil dessert, homemade cherry pie with ice cream. Cherries are another Door County specialty. The tart cherries are used in drinks, granola, jams. I brought home a bag of Kick Ash cherry almond granola, made in Ellison Bay.
I also sampled the cherry vodka at Door County Distillery. The distillery, which is building a large outdoor tasting room with a huge stone fireplace, also makes cherry bitters and cherry brandy. Unfortunately, my suitcase was filled to the brim with cold weather gear so I couldn’t bring anything home.
Note: Destination Door County covered my travel expenses. Opinions and a full belly were all my own.