Wisconsin eats a lot of cheese — the best of which comes battered and fried. Fried cheese curds can be found on menus across this fine state and many of them are good — but here is my (completely biased) list of the top places to eat fried cheese curds in Wisconsin:
#5 Curd Girl
The Madison food cart scene is even more fantastic now that Curd Girl has joined the ranks. If you’re going to build your business around a fried piece of cheese, you’d better do it right and I’m happy to report that Curd Girl does not disappoint. The cheese flavor is nice, the batter isn’t too heavy, but you may want to grab an extra napkin. If you want health food, don’t look here.
#4 Goat Cheese Curds at The Tipsy Cow
For those who are a little more adventurous, check out the Local Goat Cheese Curds at the Tipsy Cow downtown Madison. I wish I was eating them right now. If goat cheese isn’t your style, their cow cheese curds are also quite good.
#3 The Glarner Stube
New Glarus, WI
New Glarus (aka America’s Little Switzerland) is a beautiful place to visit. In addition to taking a tour at the New Glarus Brewery, of Spotted Cow fame, there’s a charming downtown with great little shops and restaurants. The whole menu at the Glarner Stube is pretty spectacular, but you may want to start with the hand dipped cheese curds and see if you have any room after that. They’re almost like a dumpling with a surprise cheese center.
#2 The Craftsman
The Craftsman Table and Tap takes Carr Valley cheese curds and fries them in a New Belgium Shift beer-batter. I don’t know the science behind it, but for a fried food, somehow they melt in your mouth. The batter is light and the cheese has a bold flavor that holds up to the fry process. If you’re visiting Madison and wonder what a fried cheese curd should taste like, I suggest you start here.
#1 Langlade County Fair Stand
OK, I grew up in Langlade County, so these cheese curds will forever be where the bar is set. The Langlade County Fair is held at the end of July and has a lot in common with other fine county fairs in this state: rides for the kids, 4-H animal showcases, a demo derby … but best of all is the cheese curds. The curds are cooked by volunteers from the Antigo Optimist Club and proceeds are donated to great causes in the community. The line for the little baskets of fried cheese curds is easily the longest line at the fair and they are well worth the wait.
Have I left off your favorite cheese curds?
Perhaps I just haven’t tried them yet. Tweet at me and tell me where to find them — I’d love to make this a running list. Bonus points if I can bike there.