13 places to find tasty fromage

Local cheese shops curate delicious cheese

Babcock Hall Dairy Store
You think of it as a great place to score a scrumptious scoop of ice cream – and you’re right, it is – but it’s also a great place to score chunks of cheese. The offerings here don’t stray too far from the traditional–think cheddars and Swisses. If you hit up Babcock’s before the lunch rush hits, you’re likely to get a behind-the-scenes look at the cheese being made. 1605 Linden Drive

Bavaria Cheese Inc.
Meat’s the bigger star here, obviously, but the cheese stands alone quite nicely, too. Wisconsin faves include Widmer’s creamy cheese spread, bierkase and aged brick camp alongside imported Jarlsberg and raclette. 6317 Nesbitt Road, Fitchburg

Brennan’s Cellars
A stunning array of cheese options cozies up to some truly transcendent fruit at Brennan’s Cellars, the reincarnation of the now-closed Brennan’s Market. Maybe it’s the basil farmer’s cheese, with huge flecks of the sweet green herb encased in some of the softest and mellowest white cheese ever. Maybe it’s the smooth-as-silk butterkase that feels like it might have missed its calling as a cheese spread. Or maybe it’s the distinctive tang of a block of 10-year aged sharp cheddar. 8210 Watts Road

Carr Valley Cheese
Camped right next door to Hurts Donuts in Middleton, this Carr Valley outlet is just one corner of the sprawling Cook family cheese empire, an operation that’s won enough national and international awards to fill multiple barns. The front of the store is where the distinctive stuff is hiding, from the smoked glacier point blue cheese to cave-aged options. 2831 Parmenter St., Middleton

The “ye olde” storefront look is oh-so-Americana main street, but inside, those cases packed to the gills with blocks and wedges of Wisconsin and international cheeses are all business – and all delicious. It doesn’t take long to find the “heck yeah” options here – our crackers are partial to the Wollersheim white cheddar spread (infused with Prairie Fume!) and English cheddar with porter ale. 183 E. Main St., Stoughton

Edelweiss Cheese Shop
Edelweiss has its own signature draw – the indescribably smooth and delish Emmentaler Swiss cheese created by cheesemaster Bruce Workman and cut from wheels that weigh about 180 pounds. If that’s not your chunk of cheese – really? – fear not, as Edelweiss also sells artisan cheeses from a huge number of talented purveyors from Wisconsin and beyond. 529 First St., New Glarus

Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet13 places to find tasty fromage

This DeForest cheese purveyor displays eye-popping offerings, like a cheese soaked in Bulls Falls Nut Brown Ale, a cheese that incorporates both ghost and habanero peppers into its scorching mix and a white cheese that tastes just like a bowl of your favorite chicken soup. Like the man says, it’s all good, baby. 4879 County Road V, DeForest

The smart kids are already part of Fromagination’s Cheese of the Month Club, an extravagance that’ll bring things like sumptuous Hook’s cheddars and Emmi Roth specialties right to your doorstep. But there are always plenty of reasons to stroll into Ken Monteleone’s college of cheese-based knowledge and (naturally) taste the best of our state’s artisanal cheeses. The options – ranging from SarVecchio Parmesan and Dunbarton blue to Bent River Camembert and Widmer’s pungent brick cheese spread – boggle the mind and the taste buds. 12 S. Carroll St.

Metcalfe’s Market
Plenty of grocery stores have extensive cheese displays/cases; Metcalfe’s puts them to shame, offering enough options in its cheese bar for wine and food pairings that you may suffer a sudden bout of fromage paralysis. And believe us, there’s plenty to pair, with a selection of Wisconsin cheeses only slightly less large than some of the wheels from which the wedges were cut. 726 N. Midvale Blvd.; 7455 Mineral Point Road

Mousehouse Cheesehaus13 places to find tasty fromage

When you duck beneath the signature nibbling rodent standing atop the roof on a supersized chunk o’ cheese, there’s no doubt what you’re in for – bins and bins of cheese blocks, spreads, whips and curds. Check out a greenish Monterey Jack with Pantaleo peppers, or one of the Mousehouse’s Scandinavian juusto, a baked bread cheese. 4494 Lake Circle, Windsor

Northwoods Cheese Co.
We all love cheese with the passion of a thousand suns, but let’s be honest with each other: Binging constantly on Brie and co-jack isn’t exactly wonderful for the waistline or the cholesterol levels. Luckily, Northwoods comes to the rescue. One of the Verona purveyor’s popular niches is called “Lifetime Cheeses” – low-fat and low-cholesterol versions of popular types of cheese like cheddar and Swiss. Cheese shipped out of Monroe

Steve’s Wine | Beer | Spirits13 places to find tasty fromage

Hey, wait a minute. We know Steve’s is a great place to score a rare bottle of wine – but cheese? Yep. This liquor store is actually a hidden trove of Wisconsin cheese goodness, all just waiting to be cut and taken home as part of Steve’s cheese course. The list of options includes Wisconsin and international cheese artisan products, from Carr Valley and Bleu Mont Dairy to Delice de Bourgogne and Manchego. Seriously, grab a chunk of Hook’s to go with that sixer of porter, why don’tcha? 122 Junction Road; 6227 McKee Road; 3618 University Ave.

Emmi Roth USA
No discussion of area Wisconsin cheese is remotely complete without a deep dive into the region’s international fromage superstar: Fitchburg-based Emmi Roth USA. From Gruyères and Emmentalers to havartis and goudas, Emmi Roth’s list of amazing cheeses is longer than a snake of string cheese. The company has a storefront, Alp and Dell, connected to its plant in Monroe, but luckily, you also can find the company’s signature cheeses in many local shops and grocery stores. Proscht! Find Emmi Roth here.