2017 TOUR: Basque Country: Spain & France
In September 2017, 20 cheese lovers joined Jeanne Carpenter of Wisconsin Cheese Originals on a 10-day tour exploring the ancient cheese making traditions of the Basque Country in the French Pyrenees and the coast of northern Spain. The group toured six Basque Country cheese factories, including descending into the cheese caves at Sotres de Cabrales, visited a Txakoli winery, toured the scenic Picos de Europa mountains and the Asturias Coast, stayed in boutique hotels, and spent two whole days exploring the food culture of San Sebastian, the most popular foodie city in the world.
In 2016, Cheese Geek Jeanne Carpenter and PBS television show Wisconsin Foodie paired to host a cheese tour in the Driftless region of Wisconsin. The tour met at Metcalfe’s Market in Madison for a pre-tour cheese tasting, and then headed to Roelli Cheese for a tour of Master Cheesemaker Chris Roelli’s cheese factory and aging cellars. Then it was off to Hook’s Cheese in Mineral Point, for a tour and tasting of Hook’s Cheddars and Blue. After a Cornish Pasty lunch at Walker’s Point, we motored to Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain, where Master Cheesemaker Bob Wills showed off his factory and Living Machine, a a working ecosystem to process washwater into clean water and discharged into Honey Creek.
2016 TOUR: Wisconsin Cheddar
In 2015, author Gordon Edgar and cheese geek Jeanne Carpenter led an all-day tour to the heart of Wisconsin Cheddar country to celebrate the release of Gordon’s new book: Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Most Iconic Cheese. Attendees met at Larry’s Market in Brown Deer for coffee and cheese strata and then traveled north for a tour of Henning’s Cheese in Kiel, the only cheese factory in America still making Mammoth Cheddar wheels. Then it was off to LaClare Farms, a farmstead goat dairy crafting goat cheddar and award-winning American originals. Later, the group enjoyed an exclusive plant tour with Master Cheesemaker Joe Widmer at his third-generation family cheese factory, Widmer’s Cheese Cellars. The evening concluded with a dinner at destination Italian restaurant Trattoria Stefano in Sheboygan.
2015 TOUR: Alpine Cheesemakers of Switzerland
In 2015, Wisconsin Cheese Originals and 20 cheese lovers toured and tasted the finest cheese, chocolate and wines of Switzerland. A highlight of the trip was witnessing traditional morning milking of cows in an Alpine barn and participating in cheesemaking over an open fire in a mountain chalet. Attendees also visited several cheese factories, including a small farmstead goat dairy, an Emmentaler factory and a Gruyere factory. Evenings featured both fondue and Raclette dinners, and participants toured medieval castles, stayed in the historic walled village of Gruyeres, walked on a glacier at 14,000 feet, visited mountain peaks on trains, trams and funicular railways, and spent a night in Zermatt at the base of the Matterhorn.
2013 TOUR: Cheeses of Northern Italy
In 2013, 20 cheese enthusiasts joined Jeanne Carpenter for a once-in-a-lifetime small-group trip to the Piemonte and Lombardia Regions in Northern Italy. The group visited six cheese makers, including a water buffalo dairy and Alpine Taleggio cheesrie and affinage house. A highlight of the trip was a two-hour personal tour of the Luigi Guffanti aging cellars in Arona, Italy, with none other than Carlo Fiore, owner and cellar master. In addition, the group toured three wineries, dined in a Michelin-starred castle, stayed in luxury hotels and spent an entire day walking the Bra Cheese Fair, one of the largest and most prestigious cheese festivals in the world.
2012 TOUR: Cheeses of the Driftless Region
In 2012, 20 cheese enthusiasts enjoyed a two-day overnight trip featuring custom tours and tastings at Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville, Hook’s Cheese in Mineral Point, Hidden Springs Creamery in Westby, Nordic Creamery in Westby, and Potosi Brewery. Guests enjoyed a fabulous local-foods dinner and overnight bed and breakfast stay at The Roth House and Old Oak Inn in Soldiers Grove.
2011 TOUR: Grand Cheese Tour of France
In 2011, 20 cheese enthusiasts joined Jeanne Carpenter for a whirlwind tour of French cheeses. Our adventure started with three days in Paris, enjoying guided tours of the city’s most famous cheese shops and tours of Montmarte, Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower and many more sights in the City of Lights. We then circled south to Bordeaux to tour the enchanting Chateau de Chambord, with a tasting of famous Touraine Goat Cheese and visit to Fromage of Jean D’Alos. Then to Montpellier, along the Mediterranean Sea, with a personal tour of the Roquefort Caves, and north to Dijon for a tour of Fromagerie Gaugry and Citeaux Abbey, where monks still faithfully craft the famous Abbaye de Citeaux cheese.