Monday, September 04, 2006

Wisconsin's Natural Resources

I've had the pleasure of eating at Mader's. Don't talk to me about that. The Heidel House, The White Horse in Madison, Piggy's in LaCrosse. All fine establishments. I've done the fine dining thing at The Ovens Of Brittany when they were open and I've spent 110 Euros on a meal at Doyle's in Dingle, Ireland. Wonderful meals with a variety of the finest, freshest ingredients, some that had still been swimming that morning.

But, when the mood hits, none of them can compare to a Wisconsin tradition since 1931.

I stopped at Baumgartner's in Monroe for lunch on Saturday. Before the meal was over I had been engaged in a philosophical discussion about which was Baumgartner's "best" sandwich. The sandwiches are served on rye bread a placed on a small square of white paper, no fancy china here.

The beer is local. Down the street local. They have a fine variety of Berghoff and Huber brands along with Blumer's Root Beer on tap. Most of the cheese is from Green County which has a one of a kind factory up on County N.

I used to deliver salt to The Chalet back when I was with Diamond Crystal. We'd drive up the hill to the backside of the factory and back out onto the roof of the cooler, around the basketball hoop. There we'd wheel the salt down the ramp into a storeroom where they would dump it into a gravity feed box to flow down to production.

What could be worth all that, you ask? The Chalet is the only cheese factory in the US that still makes Limburger cheese. All of which brings us back to that "best" sandwich.

I was having hard salami and limburger with a Huber Bock. The couple next to me were having limburger with braunschweiger and splitting a bowl of "second best" chili with Berghoff Red. They had never tried the hard salami and wanted to know if it was better than the liver sausage. I admitted that the braunschweiger was a regular choice of mine and that it was, indeed, a fine choice but that I was in the mood for the contrast between the hard cured texture of the salami with the creamy bite of the limburger.

We both agreed that more tasting on another visit would be necessary.

Baumgartner's serves their limburger sandwiches with another fine Wisconsin product, an Andes mint. If you save a swallow of Bock you can get that minty taste out of your mouth.

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