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Five cheesy ways to melt your winter appetite

When it’s time to make tracks on the trails in southern Wisconsin’s Green County, we’ll take all the snow we can get.  But as the drifts pile up outside, nothing says “comfort food” on the inside like a dish featuring melty cheese.  So take off your boots, pull off your gloves, and grab a fork.  Here are five cheesy ways to melt your winter appetite.

Fondue.  Authentic and local, a classic with Swiss roots.  The main ingredient is Gruyere, but here in Green County we know it as Grand Cru.  Woo hoo!  Emmi Roth USA’s Grand Cru (made in Monroe) won the coveted best of show title at the World Championship Cheese Contest in 2016.  Woo-hoo, a term used to express exuberant delight, first made it into the dictionary in 1981.  Since fondue hearkens to the Alps of Switzerland circa 1870, we reckon that the official Swiss national dish has been yodeled about, exuberantly, since that time.  Find fondue at Chalet Landhaus Inn, New Glarus.

Mac-n-Cheese.  The chef at Tofflers Pub and Grill in New Glarus keeps us guessing by featuring a Mac of the Week.  This isn’t your mild-mannered, boxed and bland, toddler-friendly fare.  Enjoy bold flavors for grown-ups – like Buffalo Mac with blue cheese crumbles.

Kasechuechli (Swiss Cheese Pie).   Savory.  Buttery.  Cheesy.  Who could ask for more?  It starts with a homemade crust rolled into a pie pan – filled with beaten eggs and grated Swiss cheese, plus a scattering of minced onion – baked until golden.  Check the menu for “Spezialitaten” (Swiss specialties) at Turner Hall of Monroe.

Raclette.  It’s the name for the cheese as well as for the dish in which it plays the starring role.  There are specially designed grills and mini ovens for serving Raclette.  The basic idea is to take small boiled potatoes, pickled onions and gherkin pickles, and put the melted cheese over them.  Like fondue, it’s a dish meant to be served among friends at a communal table.  Melt, scrape, share.  On the menu at New Glarus Hotel.

Three Mouseketeer.  An epic trifecta of toasty, melty goodness – Havarti, Cheddar, Monterey Jack – all layered into a hearty grilled cheese sandwich perfect for sharing.  Crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, zesty sauce optional.  Watch, wait and yearn as it sizzles on the grill behind the cheese counter at Decatur Dairy Cheese Store near Brodhead.

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