With another (cheese-filled) Thanksgiving in the books, our thoughts are turning to holiday gifts and entertaining. Holiday gift baskets are a perennial favorite, and putting them together yourself allows you to personalize each one to fit the recipient’s taste and personality.
The first step to a memorable holiday gift basket? Start with Wisconsin cheese. But don’t stop there. America’s Dairyland is home to a wonderfully diverse community of craft distillers, butchers, chocolatiers, bakers and other food artisans. This holiday season, we’ve curated three collections of Wisconsin-made products – all selected to enhance the gift of cheese.
Check out the gift collections below and find more entertaining tips and recipes in the new holiday issue of Grate. Pair. Share., our online magazine about cooking and entertaining with Wisconsin cheese.
A gift for you! One lucky cheese lover will win everything in the Wisconsin-Crafted Pairings collection and a selection of Wisconsin cheese.
With so many wonderful Wisconsin-made products, it’s easy to create a cheese gift basket that highlights all the best flavors the state has to offer.
Wisconsin Natural Acres Honey
This Chilton, Wisconsin-based company is one of many operations giving Wisconsin a reputation for producing some of the finest honey in the United States. Drizzle over Wisconsin blue cheese for a classic pairing that never goes out of style.
These organic artisan crackers highlight the flavors of Wisconsin and are excellent for snacking or serving on a cheese board. Try flavors like Wisconsin Rye, Caramelized Onion and Applewood Smoked.
Quince & Apple Preserves
Handcrafted in Madison, Wisconsin, Quince & Apple preserves are made from local ingredients at the peak of freshness. Try cheese-friendly flavors like Apples and Cranberry, Fig and Black Tea, and Pear with Honey and Ginger.
Wilson’s Mustard Pretzel Dip
Made in small batches with no artificial flavors or preservatives, Wilson’s Mustard Pretzel Dip is a sweet and tangy complement to a casual cheese board with pretzels and cheese. Available in mild and “with a kick.”
Treat Spiced Pecans
Treat Bake Shop makes its popular spiced pecans with the best ingredients. Pair them with an aged gouda or cheddar. Also available in candied pecans and candied walnuts.
Door County Cherries
The tart Montmorency cherries that grow on the peninsula of Door County in northeast Wisconsin are renowned throughout the Midwest. The dried cherries add a burst of tart sweetness and color to a cheese board and pair well with a wide variety of cheeses.
Gail Ambrosius Truffles
Wisconsin chocolatier Gail Ambrosius creates delicately flavored truffles with the finest single-origin chocolate and fresh ingredients. They make a decadent pairing for a dessert cheese course.
Savory Spoon Panforte
Dating back to the 15th century, this Italian-style fruit and nut torte can be sliced for a beautiful presentation on a cheese board.
Whether on a cheese board, sandwich or pizza, meat and cheese are timeless companions. These Wisconsin-crafted products make great holiday gifts, or can be served on hearty cheese boards throughout the season.
Gilbert’s Craft Sausages
Gilbert’s is building on Wisconsin’s great sausage tradition with fresh new flavors like Beef & Bleu; Chipotle, Mozzarella & Lime; and Beef & Cheddar.
Usinger’s has been making its braunschweiger liver sausage using the same Old World recipe since 1880. Serve it sliced with cheese on rye or mix it into a classic-style cheeseball.
This traditional German-style snack stick is made with pork and beef and plenty of fresh cracked black pepper. Great for snacking or on a hearty cheese board with Wisconsin brick cheese, pickles and mustard.
Underground Meats ‘Nduja
This spicy Calabrian-style spreadable salami truly brings the heat with ancho chilies and ghost peppers. Spread it onto hearty crackers and top with Wisconsin fresh mozzarella.
Craft spirits and cocktails make excellent pairings for artisan cheese. Create a memorable gift basket with a selection of Wisconsin cheese and small-batch spirits.
Charred Oak Rye
This rye whiskey has a vanilla and toffee aroma and a spiced caramel finish, great for sipping neat or mixed into a Rye Manhattan or Old Fashioned. Pair with alpine-style, parmesan or pepato cheese.
Cane & Abe Rum
Distilled from domestically grown dark brown cane sugar, this small-batch rum is aged in American Oak barrels to develop its smooth, robust flavor. Try it paired with gouda or aged cheddar cheese.
Death’s Door Vodka
This smooth, rich vodka is double distilled from Washington Island wheat and malted barley from Chilton, Wisconsin. It has a finish with subtle notes of vanilla. Try it mixed into a Caipiroska cocktail (get the recipe) served with GranQueso cheese and quince paste.
These uniquely flavored bitters are slow-crafted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and gaining fans across the country. Enhance your homemade cocktails with a dash of Bolivar, Cherry Bark Vanilla or Blackstrap.
Tactile Craftworks Flask
Sip your spirits in style with laser etched leather flasks from Milwaukee-based Tactile Craftworks. The company also offers leather-encased glass travel mugs, journals (for all your cheese-tasting notes!) and handbags.
For more Wisconsin gift ideas, visit gratepairshare.com.