Earlier I wrote about my adventures last weekend, and besides what I already wrote about, I also ventured with a few friends to Gail Ambrosius. Gail Ambrosius is a truly delightful chocolate shop in the Atwood neighborhood of Madison. You can watch the chocolates being hand made through a window into the back room and they have a wide variety of chocolates. Everything ranging from rose to classic vanilla and lemongrass ginger. I loved the chocolates so much that I had to visit her website. There I discovered that Gail Ambrosius is the chocolatier's name and she was raised on a Wisconsin dairy farm. On the website, she talks about how being raised on a dairy farm shaped her and how that never leaves you, includes how it taught her to care for the land. She visits many of the cacao farms that her chocolate comes from and ensures that they meet her standards. It's always nice to see how growing up on a farm influences others.
Though I do most of my shopping at regular grocery stores, I love small, specialty shops like the one I was at last weekend. When I was in Kansas City, Glace Artisan became my favorite ice cream as soon as I tried it. It's a small shop owned by a chocolatier in the area who ventured into ice cream. The flavors are pretty unique but intense, rich and amazing.
This weekend I attended the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest, which featured many small breweries and cheesemakers. While I had tried some of the beer & cheese at the festival before, most were completely new to me and I wouldn't be able to find in a typical grocery store. One of my favorite cheeses was a smoked butterkase cheese, similar to smoke gouda, but I enjoyed every single beer and cheese that I tried there. I'll always be a Minnesotan, but that festival was so classic Wisconsin.