In honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, I’m highlighting a few places that serve up some of the best I’ve tasted as well as a few websites that offer some great recipes for that iconic sandwich – The Grilled Cheese.
Both cheese and bread are ancient foods, but the two really came together in the 1920s when Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, who is considered “the father of sliced bread,” invented the bread slicer, which made distributing white bread easy and affordable. Shortly before that, James L. Kraft patented processed cheese and since then cheese and sliced bread have been inseparable!
Although Kraft Singles™ get a lot of attention when it comes to grilled cheese, Wisconsinites know that our state makes a plethora of cheese that melt sensationally between two slices of bread.
For some great recipes featuring several varieties of cheese and bread choices, visit the Grilled Cheese Academy online. You’ll find a spectacular array of cheese sandwiches that will keep you grilling all month long!
However, if you’re too busy to make a sandwich, may I suggest a few places that craft some tasty ones?!
- Most people are quite satisfied with cheddar melted between two slices of white bread but for my vegetarian friends, a stop at Alchemy Cafe on Atwood Avenue in Madison for their Stuffed Grilled Cheese is in order. It's filled with broccoli, roasted carrots, tomato, red onion and local cheddar and swiss topped with cilantro pesto sauce on toasted sourdough. Your taste buds will thank you!
- For my carnivorous friends: anything on the menu at Melthouse Bistro on East Kenilworth Place in Milwaukee will satisfy your meat and melted cheese craving. Two of my favorites are The Dominique™ featuring Wisconsin Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Dried Cranberries and Grilled Chicken Breast smothered in Walnut Pesto on Ciabatta Bread and The Maliblue™, which is like a classic club sandwich meets Cobb salad meets grilled cheese. Wisconsin Blue Cheese is the star, alongside smoked turkey breast, Pecanwood Smoked Bacon, fresh avocado slices, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, hard boiled egg crumbles and roasted garlic mayo on country French bread.
- And fear not my Northwoods friends, if you’re anywhere near Ashland, head a few miles southwest to Delta and try the Delta Diner’s Stuffed French Toast! Grilled cheese purists may not consider this a true rendition, but take my word for it, it’s stuffed with house-made Mascarpone cheese and fresh berries, dipped in a custard egg batter and GRILLED! Totally worth the trip north to stuff your belly with this delicious concoction! (The DW crew has made plenty of pit-stops there!)
- Head southwest for a couple of hours from Delta to Hudson and arrive at Urban Olive & Vine on Second Street for a “Grown-Up Grilled Cheese”. Not your average array of ingredients, this sandwich is made with Havarti and Swiss cheeses with apple chutney and honey for a sweet and savory sensation...In other words, heavenly flavor!
As for myself, I never tire of trying new cheeses and new breads grilled to perfection. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:
- 2 slices of sour dough bread (or your favorite kind!)
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 2 slices of bacon
- Wisconsin Gorgonzola or Wisconsin Blue cheese
- Door County dried cherries
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan at medium high heat. Add a slice of bread and cover with cheese bacon and cherries, add another layer of cheese, cover with the other slice of bread and cover the pan to melt the cheese. Cook for about 1 minute and then flip the sandwich and cook uncovered adding more butter to the pan if needed! It’s sweet and savory and oh so yummy! Enjoy!
For all of you who still can’t get enough of melted cheese bliss, head to Dodgeville on Sunday, April 27 to see amateur and professional chefs compete for top prize at the 3rd annual Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championships at the Harris Park Ley Pavilion!
Got a favorite diner for grilled cheese? How about a time-honored recipe? Do share!