Food/Drink

German brewers still abide by 500-year-old beer purity law

First in a series. About 44 percent of Wisconsin residents, the highest percentage of all states, reported German ancestry on the 2000 U.S. Census. (The 2010 census omitted ancestry questions). — If you love beer, this is the year to visit Germany and immerse yourself in its sudsy history, regional specialties. The Reinheitsgebot – German(…)

Take Ten: Women-owned farms to visit

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Lisa Kivirist and husband John Ivanko of Browntown have earned national recognition for their farm and renewal energy work. By Lisa Kivirist This Mother’s Day, celebrate the women championing Wisconsin family farms when traveling. We women in agriculture are increasing in number: In Wisconsin, the number of women-owned farms increased over(…)

Best cheese in the world? Wisconsin’s Grand Cru Surchoix

Best in the world. An award out of U.S. reach since 1988. Almost 3,000 entries, the most ever, from 23 countries. The big cheese in the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest, judged this month in Madison, is the Grand Cru Surchoix made in Monroe by Emmi Roth USA, whose parent company is a specialty cheese(…)

Pizza lovers know where to find the perfect slice

Pizza lovers, you have spoken. Dozens of you have made your allegiances clear, often using more exclamation points that pepperoni on the average slice. Who makes the best pizza in Wisconsin? We sought your opinion in 50 convincing words or less. Ann Schnuck of Pleasant Prairie wins for this entry: “Wells Brothers restaurant in Racine(…)

Take Ten: Where to go overnight for dinner and show

When in doubt about how to structure your next big date night, start with dinner and a show. Sometimes you can even park just once and not worry about driving again until the next morning, which is especially convenient when wintry weather turns wily. For example: Northern Lights Theater, 1721 W. Canal St., Milwaukee: Inside(…)

Perfect pies: Who makes the best pizza in Wisconsin?

Fennel-spiked sausage. Whole-milk mozzarella. A dozen spices in the sauce. A kiss of barley in the crust. One recipe, perfected over 10 years. The carefully customized nature of pizza at Georgio’s in downtown Milton, population 5,500 in Rock County, wowed me. The cozy setting, with seating for just 44, charmed me. The site’s racy history,(…)

Fulfilling pie-in-the-sky dreams at National Pie Championships

In the resort ballroom sit retired guys, moms and daughters, home economists, restaurant managers, girlfriends on getaways and many others – all waiting for their just desserts. People who know each other aren’t at the same table, and the mix of pros and amateurs is deliberate, just like the mix of bakers whose masterpieces are(…)

Great meals of 2015: grilled cheese to Sea Salt, spiked shakes to Fish on Fire

Time to review life as you know it, and I’ll do the same as 2015 ends. These restaurants, close to home and many miles away, caught my attention this year. Café Hollander, Madison: The Milwaukee-based restaurateur opened this third location in autumn, but “café” is an understatement because of the array of options is fat.(…)

Supper club food: new at Kohl Center, former Shorecrest Hotel

Wisconsin supper club food is the star in new settings that are casual, stylish and distinctive as winter nears. Factor in an expansion of projects that call attention to supper clubs, and what we have is a food movement or renaissance that shows no sign of fading. Ron Faiola of Milwaukee, whose “Wisconsin Supper Clubs:(…)

Biggest holiday cookie sale? Try St. Peter’s in little Lebanon

I saw a Lutheran school cafeteria with dozens of church mice a few days ago, but all will disappear by the time many of you read this. It’s that way every year. The too-cute treats – chocolate-drenched, with a maraschino body attached to an Oreo base, peanut halves for ears and dots of icing for(…)

New cookbook, film show off Wisconsin supper club diversity

Supper club fever has persisted ever since Ron Faiola of Milwaukee introduced “Wisconsin Supper Clubs: an Old Fashioned Experience” as a film in 2011 and book in 2013. Filmmaker Holly De Ruyter, an Oneida native, released her “Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club” to raves at this year’s Wisconsin Film Festival. For(…)

Hayward food diversity: Jimmie’s BBQ, farm-to-table cafe, excellent pie

When Dave Anderson opened a little barbecue shack in 1994 on Sawyer County’s Round Lake, the waterfront business gained a quick and strong following. In two decades, those efforts grew into a web of almost 200 down-home restaurants in 34 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Now Famous Dave’s and the founding father are going through(…)

Rural chefs redefine country cooking, farm-to-table dining

Farmers used to pitch in as a neighborhood to rebuild a barn or harvest grain, one humid acre after another. Their end-of-day reward was a hearty spread of homemade pickles to pies, enough to feed a threshing crew, as my father used to say. That obsolete reference to the communal meals of threshing crews, whose(…)

Take Ten: Fun farmers markets in Wisconsin

When trees bud and bulbs blossom, the arrival of fresh asparagus and morels can’t be far behind. Hoop houses and greenhouses hike the likelihood that locally grown spinach, tomatoes and more will ripen all year, but now is the time for farmers markets to move outdoors, rain or shine. Count these among my favorites. Dane(…)

Kentucky bourbon trails big on distillery diversity

During a much younger life, I was introduced to horse race wagering, earthy bluegrass music and long-simmering stews called burgoo while living in western Kentucky. So when Wisconsin met Kentucky in the NCAA Final Four this spring, I could not resist the urge to place a bet on the outcome with former work colleagues Chuck(…)

National pie champs have rural roots

Twenty years ago, Caroline Imig’s world started crashing. Her husband was killed in a farm equipment accident, leaving her as a single mother with five children. She tried to sell 350 acres and a herd of 120 cows, only to have a land contract buyer abandon the property without her knowledge. “They left me in(…)

Food truck cuisine: sammies, pizza, ethnic specialties

Maybe we should count the return of food trucks and food carts right up there with robins as sure signs of spring. “Mobile food is not a new concept in the United States,” notes PasteMagazine.com. “From the chuck wagons of the Old West to the hot dog stands of New York City, quick, inexpensive food(…)

New in Wisconsin food: Got2HavPie, Sartori, Nueske’s products

Much of what happens during the annual Midwest Foodservice Expo is insider advice and networking for the hospitality industry and others whose work involves the preparation and delivery of good food. Vendors hawk food trucks to chef uniforms, digital advertising systems to slush machines. Also in the mix at this Wisconsin Restaurant Association event are(…)

Cooking with beer, brandy at Schlitz campus, Appleton brewery

Cooking with alcohol used to mean little beyond a splash of beer in a crock of cheese soup or tub of simmering brats. Now ales, stouts and spirits show up in almost all courses, if you know where to look. — The Brown Bottle, a tasting room and tavern for Milwaukee’s Schlitz Brewing Co. since(…)

Chicago Restaurant Week: From the Farmhouse and beyond

Downtown Chicago might seem about as far away as you can get from rural America, but think again. At Farmhouse Chicago restaurant, an antique tractor grill covers the hostess stand, steel pipes are stairway handrails and simple cotton kitchen towels are napkins. On display are collectible toy tractors, walls are whitewashed and accouterments include a(…)

Major Nuremberg brat exhibit opens in Germany

You say you love bratwurst? Germany’s Bavaria is centuries ahead of us in that regard, and now a new exhibit in Nuremberg’s local history museum is devoted to the sausage. The show about Nuremberg Rostbratwurst fills the first level of Stadtmuseum Fembohaus and is a first step toward deciding whether the city should open a(…)

Green Fountain B&B in Waupaca serves other meals, too

Booking a bed and breakfast at the Green Fountain Inn could mean lunch or dinner, too, if you time it right. Accommodations at the Waupaca B&B, a roomy Victorian-style house built in 1908, are more about comfort and affordability than excess and luxury. Room rates stay well under $100, which includes a continental breakfast with(…)

New Midwest cookbooks with wassail, apple, locavore recipes

With colder weather comes the inclination to cook more, if for no other reason than to add warmth to the kitchen. This new trio of cookbooks, each associated with a destination to visit, just might add ideas for holiday gift lists or inspiration to your own recipe repertoire. — Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. recently(…)

Food on the farm: Restaurant ingredients truly local

Lots of chefs develop farm-to-table menus to showcase local ingredients, but these restaurants go one step further. Each is on a Wisconsin farm and open all year. North Star Homestead Farms, 11077N Fullington Rd., Hayward: A trio of women – Ann Berlage with daughters Laura and Kara – operate a café, market and creamery on(…)