Joining me in the excitement of the Wisconsin State Fair is my Taste of Home co-worker and partner-in-crime, Mitch Cooper, offering his thoughts on a cheesy Wisconsin classic.
We all know that Wisconsin is famous for its dairy products. Whether it is milk, cheese, or ice cream, Wisconsin knows how to do it. With this knowledge in my back pocket and $20 in hand, I went to the Wisconsin State Fair in search of the best, fried cheese curds around.
The State Fair has so many different food vendors; everywhere you look is an opportunity to indulge. In order to get right down to cheesy business, I had done some previous scouting, and narrowed my scope to two different, yet tasty curd contenders.
The first station I stop at seems to be a State Fair staple for many fairgoers. Brad and Harry’s cheese curds have been satisfying attendees for years, and they keep coming back for more. When stepping up to the stand, a large, neon sign with a cartoon mouse greets you, eating a brick of cheese. The long lines tell me that these have to be worth the wait.
When I get to the window, you can see the crew dipping the squeaky curds in fresh batter, and dropping into the fryer. I ask for an order of curds, and a fresh basket appears right in front of my eyes. Fried, cheesy goodness stares me right in the face, and I know that I will gladly accept this challenge. I lightly salted the fried curds, and pumped some pizza sauce to dip the curds, and quickly find a close picnic table to sit and enjoy this treat. I take my first bite into these white cheddar cheese curds, and immediately fall in love. The cheese is fried enough to have some elasticity, but still maintains its flavor. Plus, the batter contains a secret ingredient that doesn’t abduct the flavor of the cheese, but only enhances it. Further, these curds taste fresh, and not very greasy.
With the first contending curds eaten, I make my way to the other end of the fairgrounds to try the challenger: Hot Wisconsin Cheese. Instead of a permanent stand, this vendor reminds me of a city food truck. Instead of serving up fresh sandwiches, here you can order fried cheddar nuggets, mozzarella sticks, fried vegetables and more! I patiently wait in line for my turn, and contemplate what my order will be. Once I get to the window, I order the cheddar nuggets with a side of marinara sauce.
When these curds arrive, the look like large, fried, Christmas ornaments. It almost looks like these are tempura fried! I take my first bite, and am dismally disappointed. These curds have no elasticity, and are infinitely greasy. When I finish the curds, I feel almost as if I took a bath in the grease fryer. Also, the flavor of the batter and the frying grease completely consumes the curds, and the flavor of the cheddar is an afterthought.
The winner here is clear. Brad and Harry’s Cheese Curds are the BEST curds at the Wisconsin State Fair. The whole experience is worthwhile, from ordering your curds to watching them be made, and eating them. After you have these curds, you’ll never want to try anything else. If you head to the Wisconsin State Fair, and have time to do only one thing, I recommend trying these curds. They will change your life!
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