Saturday, October 09, 2010

Wisconsin Uplands: Day 1

Dave and I went to the Wisconsin Uplands region for our anniversary this year. We chose the location because of a Chicago Sun-Times article on biking through cheese country. The locales seemed truly amazing, so I booked a room at a B&B, the Cameo Rose, which seemed centrally located for all our adventures.

We started off the day with a romantic hike up the hill behind the house, then a four-course breakfast served by our lovely host. The menu included a fruit
compote with granola, a home-made cinnamon roll, eggs benedict, and a berry sorbet. Wow.

For our first stop, I had booked an appointmen
t with Uplands Cheese Co. in Dodgeville to pick up an eighth of a wedge of their award-winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a wonderful cheese that tastes like gruyere. I had purchased a very tiny sliver recently at Pastoral in the loop, but I was able to purchase a hefty pound-plus wedge for less than $25.

It was also really nice to be able to see where the cheese is made - the field with all the cows that produce their wonderful cheese. I like to be connected to where my food comes from. Plus, we got to play with their

Next, we visited a spot a few miles north, Taliesen, Frank Lloyd Wright's Wisconsin home. I had always associated Wright with Oak Park and Chicagoland, but I was surprised to learn how deep his roots run in Wisconsin. We had a tour of his architecture school, then enjoyed some more fall foliage on our way out.

After Taliesen, we doubled back for lunch in Mineral Point, a cute little town with a long history - and lots of cheese and beer. We had pub sandwiches at the Brewery Creek Inn, and Dave tried some of their microbrew. I had wanted to pick up some Hook's Cheese from their stand in town, but it was closed, so I had to resort to buying it from a liquor store. (Hey, when in Wisconsin...) I grabbed a dill jack and a garlic & green onion jack.

After that, it was time to head up to Middleton for our appointment at Capital Brewing for a brewery tour. But first, we stopped at another key tourist attraction in town: The National Mustard Museum!!

I had seen this shop on the Food Network's "Unwrapped" show a few times, and it was just as awesome as I imagined. We toured their colle
ction of mustard bottles and purchased some nice spreads for sandwiches, including a cranberry mustard, a champagne mustard, and a maple peppercorn mustard.

We arrived at Capital Brewing just in time for our tour, and I was pleasantly surprised that at Capital, you get your free samples at the BEGINNING of the tour! None of that waiting around with anticipation. We had tastes of the Supper Club, Oktoberfest, and the Winter Skal. I liked them all, but the coolest experience was drinking the Winter Skal, because our tour guide, Marshall, poured the beer DIRECTLY FROM THE FERMENTING TANK!! It was really good, even though it was strange to try the beer part-way through the fer
menting process. (It was kind of murky.) We bought a six-pack of Supper Club and continued on our way to Madison for dinner.

The Capitol Square was gorgeous in fall colors, and we walked down to the lake to take in the scenery.

For dinner, we ate at a friend's recommendation, The Old-Fashioned, which is a pub with local fare, emphasis on cheese & sausage dishes. It was predictably busy after the homecoming football game, but we were able to get a table without a problem. We shared the #3 cheese plate, which had nice slices of Camembert, Emmental, and a wonderful 12-year Cheddar. I had the sliced summer sausage sandwich, which was absolutely wonderful, and Dave had the double-bratwurst sandwich. Mmmm.

It was a great day, and we ended it by going stargazing outside our B&B, where we could see the Milky Way and tons of constellations, and then crocheting (me) and reading (Dave) in our room. Fantastische.

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