Finding the right items for the perfect welcome bags for wedding guests can be difficult. Get creative and add some “local flavor” to your wedding with unique and special treats from your native state! For the next post in our Local Love series, we travel to the cheese mecca of the United States, Wisconsin.
Savory Wisconsin Cheese for Wedding Gifts
Whether you’re tying the knot in Wisconsin or you’re both simply cheese lovers, Henning’s Wisconsin Cheese is the best you can find! This fantastic fourth-generation family-owned business ships their delicious cheese all over the United States, and their products make perfect gifts for guests. From classic cheddar to eclectic gift box sets, choosing the right cheese is easy with such a wide selection. We chat with owner Kert Henning and discover what makes his Wisconsin cheeses the best.
Q: Why is Wisconsin cheese so good?
A: We have conditions that are ideal for dairy animals and for producing fine cheeses. The soil and grasses that grow here help create a dynamic flavor for our cheeses. The weather, soil, rolling hills, and temperate conditions make this area a beautiful area to raise a family, work and create fine cheeses.
Q: How would you characterize someone from Wisconsin? What makes people from your state so special?
A: We have a lot of hard-working, down-to-earth people who care about one another and enjoy life. We are blessed to enjoy four seasons. People always think of Wisconsin as being a cold place, but the changes in weather and seasons make this a beautiful place to live, work and vacation.
The Henning Family (from left to right) Mindy, Kerry, Kay, Everett, Rebekah, and Kert
Q: How did your family business begin?
A: Our family business started in 1914. My grandfather was a 16-year-old boy who was asked to help in a local cheese factory. The owner got sick and asked my grandfather if he was interested in purchasing the business. So he worked making cheese until he passed away in 1963.
My father then took over and is still with us today. He is 82 and in good health. He takes care of monthly inventory and is currently in charge of accounts payable. My sister Kay is in charge of our dairy farmers and national accounts, and my brother Kerry is our cheesemaker with a Master Cheese Maker’s degree. I’m in charge of marketing and promotions.
We are the last manufacturer left in the United States that makes what is called a mammoth wheel. A mammoth is anything larger than 75 pounds. One of our larger mammoth wheels weighs 12,000 pounds and stands about 6.5 feet tall by 6.5 feet wide!
Q: What are your most popular products for weddings and events?
A: Some people have used our smaller wheels to build a pyramid or a “wedding cake” look, and they pass out cheese at their wedding. Others have purchased some of our wheels, cut them in half and invited guests to take a slice. Others have ordered 20 pound wheels to have them carved. We gave a carved wheel to our daughter and son for their wedding.
Cheese wedding cake | Photographer: Paula O’Hara via Ruffled
Q: What different types of cheese do you offer?
A: We specialize in cheddar, colby, monterey jack, reduced fat farmers and mozzarella string cheese. Some of our biggest sellers are three-month cheddar, six-month cheddar, eighteen-month sharp cheddar and sharp white cheddar, six-year extra sharp, colby jack, pepper jack, hatch pepper cheddar, blueberry cobbler cheddar, and mango fire cheddar.
We not only specialize in regular cheddar but a wide variety of flavored cheddars, such as tomato basil, garlic & dill, onion & chive, horseradish, chipotle, cranberry cinnamon, and buffalo along with other flavors. You can view our site for other flavors.
Will you include Henning’s Wisonsin Cheese in your welcome bags? What other goodies will you include?