Casa Anna Cheese Store is arguably Wisconsin’s cheese epicenter. Consider: the shop is situated inside the historic Park Cheese factory, which has produced italian cheeses for more than 70 years. Store shelves sag with the weight of more than 130 types of cheese, including cheese curds, aged cheddar, and smoked gouda. And cheesehead paraphernalia is sprinkled throughout the shop, paying tribute to a cheese-based economy rivaled only by the moon's. It’s all part of owners Lewis and Cindy Blank's mission to support and showcase local cheese artisans. In addition to stocking blocks of cheese, they also assemble take-and-bake pizzas loaded with layers of the Dairy Land's best.
After living in Chicago for years, Eddie Antkowiak decided to bring a piece of the Windy City's culinary scene with him when he relocated to Fond du Lac. He teamed up with his wife Angie to open their pizza parlor, which serves everything from sauce-laden deep-dish pizzas to polish sausages and italian beef sandwiches.
Throughout the day, the couple can be seen buzzing around the shop, serving up steaming slices of pizza and chatting with customers. The kitchens exude the aroma of baking pies, whose cheesy surfaces can take up to 35 minutes to reach their full potential thanks to the chefs’ dedication to the slow-baking methods that have traditionally been used to prepare Chicago's deep-dish pizzas and its toughest sidewalks.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Being a health-conscious foodie can be a challenge, because it’s not always easy to determine the history of how and where food is produced. The owners of Armstrong Apples Orchard and Winery have created such a narrative for their clients, growing fruit deeply rooted in their commitments to community and homegrown produce.
Sixteen years ago, they planted their first apple orchard, calling on friends and neighbors aged 8 to 80 for help. Since then, the farm has expanded and now grows 14 varieties of apples, peaches, pears, and grapes, which they serve fresh, baked into pies and turnovers, and pressed into their award-winning wine. Of these libations, apple wine is the owners' specialty, and it ranges from the very dry—best paired with meat—to the cinnamon sweet—best paired with Halloween costumes.
In addition to fresh fruit, baked goods, and adult beverages, the farm boasts entertainment for kids and adults alike, including a playscape and a zorb ball, which is a 12-foot high hamster-ball-like contraption that guests climb inside to travel across an open 5-acre field.