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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Enjoy a sweet treat in Racine, the Kringle Capital of the World. © Wisconsin Department of Tourism
Enjoy a sweet treat in Racine, the Kringle Capital of the World. © Wisconsin Department of Tourism

April 2006

Wisconsin Traveler
A capital treat

Feast your way through some of Wisconsin's food capitals.

Some call it civic-mindedness; others say it's unvarnished hubris, but this much your TRAVELER knows: In Wisconsin you will never catch anyone eating crow. (Shooting, yes; eating, no.) Our cities, towns and villages can't stomach the thought of descending into genteel obscurity, won't swallow the concept of second-rate. When it comes to food, Wisconsin places boast of the best, the most, the greatest. Some shyly claim only statewide honors, while others view the contiguous 48, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam as their self-appointed realm. For many, nothing short of global domination will do.

What all this pride adds up to is a boon to you, fellow traveler, for wherever your journeys take you in Wisconsin, you're sure to find an extraordinarily tasty local delight.

Consider tiny Muscoda, which modestly labels itself the Morel Mushroom Capital of Wisconsin. Gourmets and just plain folks with good appetites swoon over the elusive fungi's delicate aroma and indescribable taste. Set aside May 20-21 to join the smitten in honoring these utterly delicious mushrooms during Muscoda's 24th Annual Morel Mushroom Festival. Check Muscoda Mushroom Festival for a complete schedule of festival events.

Noted in "Ripley's Believe It or Not" for having the World's Longest Main Street Without an Intersection, Potosi decided instead to bill itself as the Catfish Capital of Wisconsin. As you wander the long thoroughfare lined with shops and many of the original houses built by miners who settled the area in the 1840s, stop at a local café and munch on a catfish burger while you ponder how to cross the street legally. Potosi Township Historical Society tells all.

Sheboygan lays claim to being the Bratwurst Capital of the World and as such invites all and sundry to Brat Days 2006, August 3-5. Visitors will witness serious sausage consumption under the watchful eye of the Bratmeister. When in Sheboygan, do as the Sheboyganese do: Order a "double with the works" – two grilled brats served on a crusty Sheboygan hard roll with pickles, ketchup, onions, and stone-ground mustard. Sauerkraut is optional. See Brat Days for the latest on the wurst.

Is it possible that somewhere on the planet there is a fete dedicated solely to Brassica napobrassica? Try Cumberland, our very own Rutabaga Capital of the World. The humble purple root with yellow flesh kept many a logger (and his sleigh team) going through Wisconsin's harsh northwoods winters. The 2006 Rutabaga Fest, August 25-27, features a parade, fun run, live music and more. How many of these "great tasting vegetables with a delicate sweetness and flavor that hints of the light freshness of cabbage and turnip" to quote one culinary expert, are actually consumed during the event? don't expect anyone in town to divulge. Visit Cumberland Chamber of Commerce for details.

Where will the trumpeting end? There's Wausau, Ginseng Capital of the World. Racine, Kringle Capital of the World. Eau Claire, Horseradish Capital of the World. And Ellsworth, Wisconsin's very own Cheese Curd Capital. It takes a lot of moxie to make that claim in America's Dairyland.