Every good road trip deserves a theme. At the risk of milking (bah dum cha!) the Dairy Month topic, I thought I’d share a few dairy-themed destinations, including a cheese curd festival, a beer and cheese celebration, and even a Milkapalooza.
Milkapalooza – June 23, 2012
Minnesota’s own grass-fed dairy, Cedar Summit Farm, is celebrating 10 years of bottling milk with their Milkapalooza event on the farm in New Prauge, Minn. this Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. After a 45-minute drive from the Twin Cities, you’ll arrive at the farm where you’ll meet local cheese makers, beekeepers, and other small producers. With a name like “Milkapalooza,” you can bet there’s going to live be music, but you can also take a gander at the Cedar Summit grass-fed dairy operation while you snack on for-sale burgers made with Cedar Summit beef, and sample their raspberry probiotic yogurt. 25830 Drexel Ave., New Prague, Minn. 56071
Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival – June 22-24, 2012
Minnesota State Fair trivia gurus know that all of the Minnesota State Fair’s cheese curds are made at the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery in Ellsworth, Wisc. You can grab some of those state fair style curds at the 11th Annual Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival this weekend. Ellsworth was named the “Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin” by Governor Anthony S. Earl in 1984, and as you motor into Ellsworth, banners proudly announce that fact up and down the main drag. Fresh cheese curds, deep-fried cheese curds, and a cheese curd mascot on a motorcycle (aptly named the “Cheesy Rider”)–the Ellsworth Cheese Curd festival has all of that, and more. While you’re there for the ultimate Wisconsin cheese curd experience, you can check out their Sesquicentennial parade, fun runs, a medallion hunt, a beard contest, live music, a live auction, stash of sweet motorcycles, and more. East End Park, Ellsworth, Wisc.
Audacious Beer and Cheese Celebration – June 29-30, 2012
The Audacious Beer and Cheese Celebration in Hartland, Wisc., is a weekend festival celebrating beer and cheese. A $20 ticket to the “Friday Flights” event will land you five flights of Sartori Cheese and Leinenkugels Beer, and a chance to visit with representatives from both. Raising slightly, a $30 ticket will get you into the “Audacious Premier Tasting” on Saturday, during which 250 attendees will taste 99 beers (including New Glarus, Bells, and Central Waters) and 32+ cheeses (including Carr Valley Cheese, LaClare Cheese, and Saxon Homestead). The festival will also include bands, a parade, fireworks, and (in true Wisconsin form) a Harley-Davidson ride. Nixon Park, Hartland, Wisc.
Whether you’re sampling world-class LeClare cheese, or shooting your own documentary about Wisconsin’s cheese curd capital, you’ll be the creme de la crème culinary tourist—in your own backyard.