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The Midwest’s milky way
Wisconsin’s cheese country is the “dairy equivalent” of California’s Napa Valley, said M.L. Johnson in the Chicago Tribune. The state produces more than 600 cheeses, and now “it’s possible, even pleasurable, to eat one’s way through Wisconsin.” Widmer’s Cheese Cellars, about an hour north of Milwaukee, is a good place to start. The family-owned business is one of the last cheesemakers that still uses glazed bricks to compress the curds for brick cheese. Tour the grounds before heading to Beechwood Cheese Co., famous for such creations as Chicken Soup Cheese—a “Monterey Jack tinged with celery, chicken broth powder, and some secret ingredients.” In Monroe, just south of Madison, sample the only Limburger made in the United States, at the Chalet Cheese Cooperative. And if you haven’t eaten your fill, cheesemaker Steve Shapson teaches weekend workshops all around Wisconsin, at which cheese lovers can learn to make their own ricotta, chèvre, and Camembert.
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The Old West and the new
Once Colorado’s least populous city, Black Hawk is on its way to becoming the “Rocky Mountain alternative to Las Vegas,” said Lionel Beehner in The New York Times. This former mining town about 40 miles west of Denver has recently become a “draw for high rollers,” by offering a novel and “surreal combination of Old West authenticity and the neon pizazz of casino gambling.” A recently enacted state law has allowed the 12 casinos along the town’s “dusty main drag” to raise betting limits to $100, add craps and roulette tables, and stay open around the clock. “Part Deadwood and part Reno,” Black Hawk still may not be much of a threat to the Vegas strip. But, then, the casinos in Vegas aren’t located so conveniently close to the great outdoors. “Surrounded by spectacular scenery, even by Rocky Mountain standards,” Black Hawk has a rich history, great fishing, and rock climbing at nearby Clear Creek Canyon.
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