If you have found yourself without weekend plans I have a suggestion. Minnesota is right next to the dairy state and let me tell you “there is nothing like handcrafted Wisconsin Cheese!” The state of Wisconsin is littered with small family owned cheese factories and dairies. Lucky for us Minneapolis is pretty darn close to the Bass Lake Cheese Factory. I actually found Bass Lake a few years ago by accident. I got lost on my way to Somerset and stopped in for directions, now I go there on purpose.
Bass Lake Cheese factory has been a Wisconsin staple since 1918. Today the state of Wisconsin has less than 200 cheese factories, many of them are automated and no longer make cheese by hand. The old-fashioned traditions of cheese making are a live and well at Bass Lake. The Cheese Master continues to use traditional recipes and techniques to create an amazing variety. Hastings creamery supplies Bass Lake with the milk that is needed to create the different types of cheese. You can’t get more local than that, Bass Lake is truly a gem in the dairy state’s crown.
Have you ever wondered how long it takes to make a good quality cheese? I know I have. During my visit I chatted with the very friendly counter staff and they gave me a brief lesson in the art of cheese making. I learned that it typically takes about 8 hours to make cheese and that all cheese is actually white. Yellow was used if the cheese was of the cheddar variety and white signaled that the cheese was a jack. Today the same coloring system is still used to identify the different types of cheeses. No worries, the dye is vegetable based and is chemical free. “I like the sound of chemical free cheese, I want cheese in my cheese, not chemicals with my cheese.”
The staff at Bass Lake are very helpful and love to answer questions. If you have a question about a certain cheese or need help pairing it with wine just ask. Bass Lake is known for their Butter Jack, no butter is not in the cheese. Butter Jack is similar to Monterey Jack however it has a richer creamier flavor. They even have CHEESE CURDS! What, you’ve never heard of the curd before. Well then you’ve come to the right blog. Curds are cheese that has yet to be pressed into a solid block. You can eat cheese curds straight out of the bag or you can dip them in beer batter (Yes beer batter) and deep fry them. Trust me once you sink your teeth into a curd, you’ll never look at cheese the same way again. At Bass Lake curds come in plain or flavored. Plain curds make me a happy girl, however when I am feeling a bit daring I will go for the Cajun flavored curds.
In addition to fresh cheese Bass Lake offers made to order sandwiches, pizzas, soft serve ice cream and cool drinks. They have a good selection of beer and wine to go along with the cheese you bought. The factory also sells an array of jams, jellies, and syrups from local Wisconsin companies. The best part of the factory is the viewing window that looks into the factory. Yes, you can watch them make cheese and stroll through their collection of antique cheese making equipment. Bass Lake has a large deck outside and welcomes bikers. So why not get lost and find your way to the Bass Lake Cheese Factory.
If you don’t want to get lost, here is the address:
Bass Lake Cheese Factory
598 Valley View Trail
Somerset WI 54025
or visit them on the web: http://www.blcheese.com