Quick! What comes to mind when I mention Green Bay, Wisconsin? It’s Sheena here, digital food editor for BHG.com and I’d bet serious money your first response was Packers football. Fair enough. Where else will you find an NFL team in such a small market? And just try to name one more NFL team owned by the fans – that’s right, you can’t. The Packers are unique and important to Green Bay, but if that’s all that comes to mind, you have not experienced the amazing food scene on the cusp of exploding.
CHEESE!!! No, that’s not excessive use of the caps lock key. Wisconsin = cheese, but until you’ve tasted cheese curds made the morning you ate them and met some cheese-making experts you don’t fully grasp it. From small batch cheeses at places like Renard’s Cheese to the brand I think synonymous with fresh mozzarella in the Midwest – BelGioioso – Green Bay is home to super-fresh cheese. Cool learning: BelGioioso makes its mozzarella to order and gets its milk from within a 30-mile radius of their factories so milk can go from farmer to packaged product in 4 hours! And they can make a LOT of cheese. Check out all the provolone!
Farm to Fork is Hot. The local food trend is in full swing as evidenced by a remarkably large farmer’s market, rent-able plots to grow food at their botanical garden and Green Bay restaurants. I ate one of the best meals of my life at Three Three Five created by Chef Chris Mangless (aka: The Traveling Chef). Earlier in the day Chef Chris met us at Twin Elm Gardens where many of his ingredients come from, from there he dreamed up a 27-course dinner using some of the foods we saw growing that morning. Some of the dishes I just pause to reflect on from time to time are the Meyer lemon hummus with pine nuts; carrot soup with coconut, ginger, and of all things, a marshmallow; and pork belly fried rice using black rice, pineapple, and soy. Here’s a sampling of my meal:
Craft Beverages Everywhere. Breweries abound in Green Bay. We sampled brews from Badger State Brewing Company (tasting room coming soon), Titletown Brewing Company (expansion coming soon), and Hinterland Brewery (new location coming soon). As you can tell from the updates soon to come for each company the craft brew business is booming. Though I enjoyed each beer we tasted, I’m not a big beer drinker, so my beverage highlight came from The Libertine. The dimly-lit, prohibition-styled space felt cozy and inviting and the cocktails were crafted by expert hands.
So if you find yourself venturing to Green Bay, don’t forget to explore cuisine outside the stadium.