There are a lot of stereotypes about the state of Wisconsin: We’re all farmers, everyone’s drunk all the time, and we eat cheese with every meal. While some of these things may be true (i.e. beer-battered cheese curds), the dairy state produces some of the most unique and delicious flavors in the Midwest. Don’t be shy and head up north to see all that Wisconsin has to offer.
1. Cheese Curds
Just when you thought that cheese couldn’t get any better, Wisco went and deep fried it. Spice it up with jalapeño cheddar or cool it down with ranch dressing. Regular curds are another option, but you want them extra squeaky when you bite into them so you know they’re fresh. Either way, they’re the perfect snack while you watch the Packers beat the Bears.
2. Bloody Marys
In Wisconsin, a Bloody Mary isn’t just a drink: it’s a meal. If there aren’t at least six toppings on that thing then you’re doin’ it bloody wrong. Common toppers include cheese cubes, bacon, celery, shrimp, summer sausage, and pickled vegetables such as olives, asparagus, beets, and Brussels sprouts. But that’s just the beginning. Add mini sliders, onion rings, hot dogs, and even a full chicken or pizza on top. Don’t forget your beer chaser!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream’s thicker, richer cousin. Egg yolks add a certain creaminess to the sweet dessert that Wisconsin has claimed as its own. The dairy state has the highest concentration of frozen custard shops in the world, but you’ll have trouble deciding between the three major competitors: Kopp’s, Leon’s, or Gillie’s.
4. Brats, Brats, and More Brats
Nobody has ever felt more passionately about brats than Milwaukee Brewer fans who place bets on their favorite sausage right before the seventh inning. Polish Sausage, Hot Dog, Chorizo, Italian Sausage, and the original Bratwurst duke it out on the pitch and on our plates, thanks to the Usinger’s, Johnsonville, and Klements factories in town.
5. Brandy Old Fashioned
We can thank our German immigrants for this delectable drink that mixes brandy (or whiskey if you prefer), sugar, and crushed bitters. Once topped with orange slices and Maraschino cherries, it becomes the Wisconsin bar classic your parents warned you about. Up ‘dere, our drinks are as strong as our accents.
People come from all over to get this jelly-filled, icing-covered pastry made famous in Racine, WI. In fact, Kringles are so beloved, they’re the official pastry of the state. They’re layered with flaky dough, filled with fruit or nuts, and baked to perfection.
7. Spotted Cow
This “fun, fruity, and satisfying” beer may be lesser known nationally than Miller, but it’s famous among residents who know the New Glarus Brewing Company’s fervor for fermenting. Spotted Cow is so sought-after that people travel across states to buy it since it can only be purchased in Wisconsin.
8. Raw Beef and Onions
The Germans brought over yet another culinary masterpiece that is mostly unhygienic but has taken hold as a Wisconsin holiday tradition. It’s as simple as it sounds: raw ground beef, chopped onions, and salt and pepper atop a piece of bread. Also called steak tartare, tiger meat, or a cannibal sandwich.
9. Deep-Fried Anything On a Stick
Oreos? Yep. Lasagna? Sure. Alligator? Why not. The Wisconsin State Fair is notorious for its ever-changing and ever-crazy menus at the food vendors lined up inside State Fair Park. Munch on meatballs or chew on cheesecake as you stroll the fairgrounds looking for the next best ride. Everything is better fried.