It’s really weird for me to write about this post from a tourist perspective. I’ve grown up going here my entire life. My mom used to teach at the school down the road from here. I’ve watched them expand to the setup they have today. But here it goes.
Dairy State Cheese is a cheese factory about half an hour outside of my hometown of Wisconsin Rapids. I’ve grown up on this cheese, and quite frankly consider it to be the best cheese factory in Wisconsin. But I am biased. That being said, whenever I’m back in town (or whenever my parents come to see us) we stock up on our supply, because no cheese beats Wisconsin cheese.
When you come in the doors, there is a small cooler of cheese spreads and sausages right in front. The cashier/work space is in the middle with cheese coolers surrounding either side. Along the far wall windows look into the actual cheese factory. The front portion of the store has expanded during my lifetime so that there is a counter where all the fresh cheese curds are located and also another cooler space of cheese.
Depending on the day, a selection of white or yellow plain cheese curds will be available. Back in the day those were the only options, but nowadays when you go they also will have an option of pizza, Cajun, or dill cheese curds as well. For those who are new to the cheese curd world, they are best served when they are still fresh and warm off the press. That’s when they are at their squeakiest. I’ll keep mine on the counter for a few days at home. If I haven’t finished off a bag by that point, then I stick them in the fridge.
There’s a stairway just to the left of the entrance. This will take you upstairs to the viewing area of the factory. They also have an open space with chairs in front of a TV. They use this space for class tours. I know because every 4th grader in the district goes on a trip here since 4th grade is the year of Wisconsin history. Most days they have the machines running so you can see them making cheese. If your lucky you even get to see them dump the giant bucket of salt in! (Try to ignore that if you see it….the cheese is so tasty!)
As you can see the day I visited they had 1 of 3 vats running. Downstairs and further to the left is another room that has ice cream for sale. They have quite a few flavors available everyday and a few tables to enjoy your ice cream around, or if it’s a nice day, you can take your ice cream to the benches outside the store.
If ever you are in the central Wisconsin area, I encourage you to make a trek over to Dairy State Cheese. You won’t be disappointed!
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