20201 Point Creek Rd.
Kiel Wisconsin 53042United States
Cheese fans can see how fresh cheese curds and huge wheels of cheddar are made, and then pick up a few varieties to take home.
Whether you're looking to purchase a specialty cheddar or you simply want to learn more about cheese, Henning's is a great stop. The claim to fame at this country cheese factory in Kiel, Wisconsin, is making old-fashioned big wheels of cheddar. Most are cake-size, but Henning's once produced a record-breaking 12,000-pound, 6-1/2-foot-tall behemoth for an upscale Texas grocer (who had to remove doors and windows to get it into the store). Other wheels have been big enough for carvings of heroes, such as Abraham Lincoln. A small, unofficial museum features vintage cheese-making tools and a video to walk visitors through the cheese-making process, from raw milk and curds to wheels and aged cheese. The best part is catching the staff in action in the factory, tossing in huge handfuls of salt or dried cranberries into a batch of cheese. Done learning? Few shoppers can resist Henning's still-warm cheese curds, available to try Monday through Friday. You can sample your way through the retail shop cases of aged and flavored cheeses, including cherry cheddar, blueberry cobbler cheddar and buffalo cheese. Bestsellers are mozzarella whips (a skinnier, fresher version of grocery-store string cheese sticks) and the award-winning peppercorn cheddar, which has a nice zip. Want something more daring? The mango fire cheddar delivers a stealthy kick of heat. Henning's is a fun place to visit, especially for anyone who doesn't know much about cheese making. And even cheese snobs will find it hard to resist the allure of Wisconsin's iconic and lovably squeaky cheese curds.