Wow!! Fall came on fast and hard! We’ve had really mild temperatures the last few weeks, at least during the day. Even the nights haven’t been too bad, but just the other day Fall decided to make its presence known. Not that I’m complaining. I love this weather. The best part is lazy weekend mornings when I can wrap up in my bathrobe, toss my slippers on and just chill out for an hour or 2 before I start my day. Okay, that may not be the best part of Fall, but it sure ranks up there.
I was going to post about our adventures last weekend but I realized that I hadn’t bothered to take any pictures and a post without pictures or a recipe would be pretty boring. So, sorry for not writing up a full post, but I still want to quickly relate our adventures from last Saturday. I was a beautiful Fall day and my wife wanted to surprise me with a drive through Amish country, so we hopped in the car and headed over to Columbia County. I was a great drive, like the ones I remember from being a kid when taking a “Sunday” drive was a popular pastime. You know the kind of drive I’m talking about, ones where the trip is as important and even more so than the destination. Once we hit Columbia County we quickly ditched the main roads for some of the smaller county roads in order to enjoy the Fall color and catch a glimpse or 2 of the Amish working the fields. It wasn’t long before we came upon a gentleman plowing up his field with a team of 6 horses. My daughter was thrilled as she had never seen anyone work a field with a team of horses.
Little did I know that my wife had a rough agenda planned out, and soon after that first encounter we made our fist stop, at Salemville Cheese Factory, which makes a couple of my favorite blue cheeses, Amish Blue and Salemville Gorgonzola. The factory is a co-op that provides many of the local Amish farmers with a quick way to sell their milk. The best part is how much of the process is still done by hand and it shows in the quality of product they produce and sell. If you haven’t ever had the chance to try their cheese it is well worth trying to track it down.
As we continued to tour the back roads of Wisconsin we hit a number of farm stands, most run by the Amish, although not all were. The next important stop was Pleasant View Bakery and one of my new favorite places. Just outside of Dalton, WI, a small, unassuming sign let’s you know you’ve found the right place. A large field/parking lot filled with buggies (belonging to the workers) and cars, greets you. As you walk towards the main house the lack of any electrical or telephone wires announces that you are indeed on an Amish property. The bakery is around the side of the house and down a small incline, but chances are you will be stopped quite a ways before you reach your final destination due to the line of people, all waiting for a chance to scoop up some the culinary delights of this bakery. Yes, you are going to wait, as the retail outlet can only hold about 10 people at a time. Luckily the line moves rather quickly, and the aromas coming from the bakery seem to draw you in. We waited almost an hour, and in my opinion it was well worth the wait. The small, basement retail shop is dimly lit by a couple of kerosene lanterns, and is packed with bakery goods of all descriptions. While it would take way too much space to list all everything they offer, a rundown of our purchases that day will give you a good idea of everything they make. We bought 2 loaves of bread, 1 white, 1 onion-cheddar, 1 pecan pie, 1/2 dozen fresh donuts (some sugar coated some glazed chocolate), a giant soft pretzel, and some kind of donut topped with fresh cherries (for my daughter). While I could only see part of the bakery beyond, from what I can tell everything is completely handcrafted without the convenience of electric mixers and if the constant smell of burning wood was any indication, everything was baked in wood fired ovens.
I had brought my camera with me, but the day was just so laid back and enjoyable I just never seemed to bother to pick it up and shoot and pictures. Columbia County is a beautiful place this time of year and well worth the trip. You can find Salemville Cheese Factory and Outlet at:
W4481 County Rd. GG
Pleasant View Bakery is located at:
N9543 Kiefer Rd.
With winter coming on Pleasant View scales back their hours of operation to Fridays and Saturdays only.
I leave you today with a great Fall side dish. Wanda picked up a stalk of Brussel Sprouts the other day so I whipped up this recipe to accompany Oven Roasted Chicken. It’s quick and simple and loaded with Autumn goodness.
Cider Glazed Brussel Sprouts
1-1 1/2 pounds Brussel Sprouts
3 slices Bacon, preferably thick cut
3/4 cup Cider
2 Tbl. Cider Vinegar
2 Tbl. Maple Syrup (the real stuff not pancake syrup)
Clean and trim the Brussel Sprouts and cut in half.
Chop the bacon and in a large sauté pan, cook until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon, leaving the rendered fat behind and add the Brussel Sprouts. Saute, tossing occasionally, until the sprouts begin to carmelize
Add the cider, syrup, and vinegar, along with 1/4 cup of water, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook until most of the liquid evaporates and the sprouts are nicely coated in glaze.
Add the reserved bacon, along with salt and pepper to season and serve.