If you consider yourself a foodie, then you know the importance of picking a vacation spot with good food options. After all, what are vacations for if not indulging? If you’re a cheese connoisseur or just appreciate a good bite, you’re in luck. A trip to Europe for fancy cheeses isn’t necessary when you can get your creamy fix right here in the states. We’re not saying you should base your next vacation solely on the cheese options you might find there, but if you happen to stumble across one of these five cities, here’s what you can expect.
1. Monroe, Wisconsin
The cheese capital of the USA delivers a bonanza of dairy. Time-travel to cheesemaking’s early days at the National Historic Cheesemaking Center. Peer into a modern factory at Alp and Dell Cheese. Milk a cow at DeVoe Farms. Then stop for lunch and creamy souvenirs at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store & Tavern, the state’s oldest cheese shop, dating to 1931.
2. Brooten, Minnesota
A labor of love by dairy farmer Alise Sjostrom, Redhead Creamery has been crafting artisan cheese since 2013. Tours include a visit to the dairy cows that supply the creamery, a look into the plant, and sample-tasting in the on-site shop.
3. Fair Oaks, Indiana
Fair Oaks Farms, one of the largest working dairy farms in the US, churns 600,000 people a year through its Dairy Adventure tour, in which visitors interact with exhibits like a 4D movie and the calf birthing barn. After, splurge on grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream at the Farmhouse Restaurant. The farm’s popular Cowtober Fest takes place every October.
4. Middlefield, Ohio
One of the largest Swiss-cheese manufacturers in the nation is nestled in the fourth-largest Amish community in the world. Peruse gourmet cheese and other local foodstuffs like meats, jams, and maple syrup at the Rothenbühler Cheese Chalet. Then shop for handcrafted Amish goods such as hardwood furniture and household items along Nauvoo Road.
5. Owensville, Missouri
Guests of Martha & Tom’s Farm, home of Cool Cow Cheese, are regarded as family: greeted by owners Tom and Martha Blatchford, personally introduced to their coterie of farm animals, and treated to a tasting in the shop. Stay on-site in the Brinkmann Farmstead B&B, and wash down all that Edam, Gouda, havarti, and Jersey Jack at an area winery like Röbller Vineyard or White Mule.
A version of this article appeared in our partner magazine, Best Small Towns, in 2022.